Amy Krouse Rosenthal's recent "Modern Love" column for the New York Times sent a nation sobbing as the Chicago writer revealed she was dying and putting feelers out for a new spouse for her husband. Jason Rosenthal, 52, now tells People he knew his 51-year-old wife of 26 years, who has terminal ovarian cancer, was writing something, though he wasn't sure exactly what. He observed her during the process, however, and says that penning the piece "was no easy task." And when Jason finally did lay his eyes on the words of the woman with whom he's raised three kids—sons Justin, 24, and Miles, 22, and 19-year-old daughter Paris—he says he was "shocked at the beauty."
He also says he was somewhat stunned she was able to pull off such an essay, "given her condition," and that reading it made him feel "emotionally ripped apart." The Chicago Tribune notes the piece went viral and that Amy, a children's picture-book author, was determined to finish it, even as her lack of food and the morphine she's been taking made her weak and sleepy. Per NBC New York, a friend told the Today show that Amy's essay wasn't a total surprise to those who knew her, because she "has a great gift for making us understand that life's seemingly small moments are really not so small." As for that white space at the end of the Times column meant for Jason to one day reveal his own heart, perhaps with someone new, he notes, "My tale would be about the most epic love story … ours." Read Amy's full column at the New York Times. (Read more New York Times stories.)