Amy Krause Rosenthal wrote 28 children’s books and two memoirs as well as being a film maker and radio show host. However, many people only became aware of her after she penned an essay for The New York Times entitled “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” According to The Times, 4.5 million people read this love letter to her husband of 26 years on-line. Ten days after it was published, on March 17, 2017, she died of ovarian cancer at age 51. Rosenthal leaves a tremendous legacy of books for children, including seven that will be published posthumously. She also did a marvelous job of reminding us to treat time like what it is—a precious gift not to be squandered.
Amy—as a fellow author and ovarian cancer fighter I feel as if I’m allowed to call her by her first name—was always acutely aware of the value of time, according to Sam Robert’s article about her death. When she turned forty, she counted how many days she had left if she lived to be eighty.
What she didn’t know was that in September 2015, she would be diagnosed with cancer. The number of days suddenly became much fewer. Cancer changes everythi
ng, whether we like it or not. It makes us realize that our time isn’t infinite. We know that, but somehow, we ignore it or we refuse to get it.
Amy is quoted as saying it like this, “At the very least, I want to look at trees a million more times. Is that too much to ask?”
It’s a pivotal question. How do we want to spend our more precious resource, time?
Do you want to spend time watching reruns on TV or visiting with your favorite people? Is there someone whose forgiveness you need or that you need to forgive? Is there an old friend you keep meaning to call? What’s on your bucket list? When was the last time you told your children that you love them? When was the last time you played? When was the last time you laughed so hard you almost wet your pants? Are we spending our time doing the things that give us joy? Or do we keep telling ourselves there will be time later?
I can’t remember which author it was, but when asked the question, “What would you do if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?” he’s credited with answering, “I’d write faster.” I said that to my husband once and he didn’t find it funny. He asked me if I wouldn’t spend more time with family. And he was right. I’m visiting my parents in Kansas in April and headed to Virginia in May to play with my grandkids. I want to read as many books to them as I possibly can in one week. I want to act silly with them and play pretend for hours. Then I’ll come home and watch the wildflowers Tim planted in our backyard grow and bloom. We’ll barbecue and invite my son and his wife over. Tim will can pickles and I’ll help. I’ll try never to miss church on Sunday.
I’ll write as many stories as I can because it gives me great joy and that’s what we should use our time for.
I also plan to look at as many trees as I possibly can.
I hope you will too.
Here’s the link to Amy Krause Rosenthal’s website, http://www.whoisamy.com, and the link to The New York Times essay https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/style/modern-love-you-may-want-to-marry-my-husband.html