Children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthal broke hearts in March 2017, when she penned a gut-wrenching New York Times essay titled “You May Want To Marry My Husband.”
In the Modern Love column, Rosenthal revealed that she had been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in 2015. With “only a few days left being a person on this planet,” she wrote a personal ad for the father of her three children, Jason Rosenthal, in the hope he could have a “fresh start” with someone new.
The piece was published 10 days before Amy died at 51. Now, 15 months after losing his wife of 26 years, Jason revealed he may never say “I do” to another woman. “I have no idea. I don’t know,” Jason told Today on Wednesday, June 13. “When I said, ‘I live day to day,’ that’s what I’m doing right now.”
Jason was referring to the TED Talk he gave in April that was released on Tuesday, June 12.
“My wife died of ovarian cancer in our bed,” the widower told the audience at the TED 2018 conference. “I carried her lifeless body down our stairs, through our dining room and our living room to a gurney to have her body cremated. I will never get that image out of my head.”
He spoke of memories from Amy’s final weeks that continue to “haunt” him. “I remember walking backwards to the bathroom, assisting Amy with each step. I felt so strong,” he recalled. “I’m not such a big guy, but my arms looked and felt so big and healthy compared to Amy’s frail body.”
Three months after Amy’s passing, Jason lost his father.
“I had to wonder: how much can the human condition handle?” he asked. “What makes us capable of dealing with this intense loss and yet carry on? Was this a test? Why my family and my amazing children?”
Jason admitted he is “sad a lot of the time” and often feels like a “mess,” but is grateful that Amy “gave very public permission to find happiness.” Though Jason has not found love, “I now have experience joy from time to time,” he shared.
The Modern Love column was not for nothing. Many emails he received made him smile. One read: “I will marry you when you are ready. Provided you permanently stop drinking, no other conditions. I promise to outlive you. Thank you very much.” He joked to the audience: “I do like a good tequila. Yet, how could I say ‘no’ to that proposal?”
On Wednesday, Jason told Today: “The great irony of my life is that it took losing my wife of 26 years, my best friend, the mother of my three children to truly appreciate each moment and each day.”
Jason and his family set up a foundation to raise money for ovarian cancer research and children’s literacy.