Widowed Author Says Viral Essay Wife Wrote from Deathbed 'Gave Me Permission to Find Someone New'
Author Jason Rosenthal, widower of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, tells their story in a new memoir that ends with news he is now dating someone special
It has been a little more than three years since the late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal published an appeal to her husband’s imagined new wife in her New York Times‘ Modern Love column titled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” But the viral essay that would prove Amy’s last work (she died of ovarian cancer 10 days later) is still having a big impact on the man left in its spotlight.
Jason Rosenthal, a formerly anonymous lawyer with his own practice, is out this week with a memoir — My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me — that is, all at once, a love letter to Amy, a raw look at the beauty and pain of hospice care at home, and a guide for navigating grief.
“Amy gave me this new voice that maybe was in me, but I didn’t know,” Jason, 55, tells PEOPLE in an interview for the new issue out Friday.
In its final chapter, the book also makes an announcement about Jason’s own new chapter: that he is now dating someone special.
“Amy’s letter gave me permission to open my heart to someone new,” says Jason, now practicing law part time to make room for public speaking on the topics of loss, grief and resilience. “Amy will always be in my heart, and whoever I end up with will know that.”
He exclusively tells PEOPLE that the woman he does not name on the penultimate page of his memoir (and thanks in its Acknowledgements for “for filling my blank page with joy and happiness”) is Claire, a 46-year-old Chicago health and wellness professional.
For more of Jason Rosenthal’s interview and an exclusive excerpt of his memoir, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.
“After we’d spent some time together, I knew there was something special about this woman. The companionship, her companionship, felt so good,” he writes in the book.
“Even then, when she and I started going out in public,” he says, “I was still apprehensive about being judged for enjoying myself with a woman who wasn’t Amy.”