Amy and Jason Rosenthal were married for over two decades when they had to face the reality that they might not be together for much longer.
Amy went to the hospital for what she thought was appendicitis, but she wasn’t prepared for what it actually was: terminal ovarian cancer.
About a year and a half following her diagnosis in 2015, she gathered every ounce of strength she had to write a dating profile for her husband of 26 years, which she published in The New York Times. Amy came forward with her intentions in the title, calling it, “You May Want To Marry My Husband.”
She asks someone to marry her husband
This was something Amy had been trying to write for a while. Between her medication and lack of “real food,” she didn’t have much energy, but Amy said this was something she needed to write. “I’m facing a deadline, in this case, a pressing one,” she said. “I need to say this (and say it right) while I have a) your attention, and b) a pulse.”
Knowing she was dying of cancer, Amy wanted to make sure there was someone to love Jason after she was gone.
“I’m going to create a general profile for Jason right here,” she said, “based on my experience of coexisting in the same house with him for, like, 9,490 days.”
She started with the basics: he is 5 feet and 10 inches tall with “salt-and-pepper hair and hazel eyes.”
Amy reminisced about the adorable things her husband did for her over the years: bringing flowers to her first pregnancy ultrasound, surprising her with goofy smiley faces made out of random things lying around their kitchen and cooking for her (Amy says the food he makes is delicious).
Amy felt despair following her cancer diagnosis, and she didn’t hide those feelings.
“No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No reason, now, to apply for the Harvard Loeb Fellowship. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No writers’ residencies at those wonderful schools in India, Vancouver, Jakarta.
“No wonder the word cancer and cancel look so similar.”
A bit about Amy
Before and during her battle with ovarian cancer, Amy published over 30 children’s books and several viral videos. She is also involved in her community through organizing and speaking at events.
One of these events is the The Beckoning of Lovely, which was inspired by a video she produced where she shared 17 things she made. She wanted people to help her make an 18th thing, scheduled for 08/08/08 at 8:08. She told people she would be the woman with the yellow umbrella. Everyone was divided into groups to create something in less than an hour. One group made a grand entrance, which became a tradition at the start of every Beckoning of Lovely event to follow. Another group came up with “make do with what you have” and held up cocktail umbrellas to mimic Amy’s yellow umbrella.
Amy continued this event for three more years: 09/09/09 at nine o’clock, 10/10/10 at 10 o’clock and 11/11/11 at 11 o’clock. Of course, she brought her yellow umbrella.
A fresh start
She’s accomplished so much in her life, but now Amy has one wish: “I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children … But that is not going to happen.”
Amy concluded the dating profile by addressing the woman who will later take her place as Jason’s wife. “I’ll leave this intentional empty space below as a way of giving you two the fresh start you deserve.”
With that, she left a large space and signed off.
“With all my love, Amy.”