Photo: Chicago Tribune
Only weeks before she passed away, Amy Krouse Rosenthal had one last wish - to find a wonderful woman for her husband. Now, her daughter is taking over.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Amy was an incredible writer, beloved wife, and amazing mother to her daughter. Unfortunately, one day when she walked into the hospital with her husband with no thoughts but her routine scans, she walked out with the knowledge that she had ovarian cancer.
Her world was turned upside down. She previously had so many huge plans for her life - big trips with loved ones, huge seminars, even a potential fellowship. It seemed impossible that it could all disappear so quickly.
However, Amy knew that she had to make the most of what was left with her time. She was present with her family, making sure they knew just how much she loved them. In one final act of love, she decided to write a letter.
"You May Want to Marry My Husband"
On March 3 of 2017, Amy's open letter named "You May Want to Marry My Husband" went viral. It addressed how she found herself in this situation, the life she and her husband had had together, and finally, how she wanted him to find the same kind of love and happiness with someone else.
The letter acted almost as a "wanted" ad for her husband, where she explained how he is a sharp dresser, wonderful father, and incredibly handsome. While the goal was to find someone for her husband and let them know that they deserve each other, one could not help but to be moved by the beautiful relationship they had for each other - especially when hearing his response to the piece. He said, "I don't have the same aptitude for the written word. But if I did, I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story ... ours."
While the post moved many, and showed the immense amount of undying love she had for her husband, the project was not over yet. Her daughter, Paris Rosenthal, has been able to continue her legacy. But this time, the letter is not to a specific woman who may want to marry her husband - but every single girl out there.
Paris Rosenthal has recently released a book that she wrote with her mother titled Dear Girl, and it has already found its spot on the top of bestsellers lists. She and her mother wrote it together, and it is addressed to any girl who reads the book, encouraging them to be courageous and proud of the person they are.
Paris explains how the work began, "we started writing it in 2015, which was when she got diagnosed. We were able to finish everything while my mom was still around. The only thing she wasn't around for was the release of the book itself - we completed everything as a team. It was an incredible process. We wanted to convey that you're wonderful just the way you are. One thing I love about Dear Girl, is that girls can turn to any page in this book and feel empowered in one way or another - whether it's listening to your brave side or something as silly as breaking out into a dance at the dinner table. We tried to convey these messages together."
Paris helped her mom to take pictures when she didn't have enough energy, write things down when she couldn't, and generally act as a personal helper to her mother on a daily basis - especially on their special project.
Paris explains how much more she learned from her mom, and how her getting cancer affected her, "You really never know how long you have with someone. Life is too short to live with toxic or unkind relationships. I thought that I had my whole lifetime to have my mother, and the possibility of one day not having her - especially at this age - never crossed my mind. My advice would be to live each day to the fullest in terms of your relationships and the impact you want to have on this earth."
Fortunately for Paris, she experienced that same love from relationships, and ran into many leaving a positive impact on the earth. She noted, "there is a lot of love and compassion out there, even from strangers. I've learned that everyone struggles and experiences some type of loss. More people in the world are now discovering the Amy that my family and I have always loved and appreciated and it's beautiful to watch."
Following in Mom's footsteps
Paris is a student at Quest University in Canada, where she is a junior. Through her time in school and working on this project, she realized that writing just might be her calling too. She explains, "I have always loved writing and writing this book with my mom only solidified my passion. It's just another way that I'm following in my mom's footsteps. I have so much of my mom within me, I'm discovering that more and more. I try to live my life the same way she did, which is to make the most of my time now."
Project 1, 2, 3
While Dear Girl is stealing the hearts of many across the world, it isn't the only project of Paris's to continue her mother's legacy. Amy would post a "1,2,3" list every day at 1:23 in an effort to make it to 123 days. She only made it to 61, but Paris has decided to continue the project herself for the next 62 days - to finish the initial number her mother had intended.
However, there is a little personal twist on the project. She will post at the same time, but instead of her mother's types of lists, she would post a picture that symbolizes a certain essence of her mother. Not only is this a beautiful way to finish out a project that her mother had begun, but it acts as a way for Paris to remember her mom and acknowledge her every day, as well as share beautiful aspects of her with others. She wanted everyone know who her mother was in the Rosenthal family, and let them in to the way that she knew her beloved mother.
Paris explains the intent behind bringing her own twist to the project, "’You are linked in my thoughts and heart in a way that is so constant, it's almost like I'm breathing you with every breath', my mom once wrote to me. Well, she is linked in my thoughts and heart in the exact same way - and that's why I need to do this."
If you would like to see Paris's beautiful tributes to her mother via Project 1, 2, 3, feel free to visit her Instagram, @akr.par.
While she is no longer with us, Amy's contributions via her incredible writing have changed the world, from the touching relationship she had with her family to the millions of girls her writing has empowered.