iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Encouraging your partner to seek love after you die can be a difficult subject to broach, but a recent New York Times column was also a reminder of just how heartwarming it can be.
Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who died Monday from ovarian cancer, recently penned a dating profile for her husband of 26 years, Jason Rosenthal. She was 51.
In her “Modern Love” essay titled “You may want to marry my husband,” Rosenthal simultaneously shared that she believed it was OK for her husband to find love after her death, while listing all of his lovable qualities for a future mate.
Rosenthal noted that she wrote the column in hopes “that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.”
ABC News had reached out to Rosenthal on March 3 but she declined to comment.
Harvey Max Chochinov, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, told ABC News earlier this month that although a request like this was “meant to give comfort, it also forces people to really think and wrap their minds around the reality of this person no longer being in their lives.”
For individuals who are dying and want to tell their loved ones that it’s OK for them to find love upon their death, Chochinov offered four tips to help have the conversation:
1. This won’t be easy
Chochinov reminded people who are dying that this can be “a painful topic. And although it may offer some comfort, at the same time it may also elicit a great deal of pain. It so explicitly acknowledges that [you] will no longer be here.”
2. Be direct
Chochinov said you don’t necessarily have to be very detailed, but try to be direct. Indeed, you can also start the conversation by saying, “Can we talk about what your life would like after I’m gone.”
3. It’s OK if the conversation is short
“This may not necessarily be a long conversation,” Chochinov, who wrote the book Dignity Therapy: Final Words for Final Days, warned. “It may not be a detailed conversation. [You only really have to say] ‘You need to understand it’s OK to find happiness after I’m gone.’ It may sound pretty cryptic, but it delivers a message that lets the person know you don’t need to honor your loved one by being in a perpetual state of grief and being alone.”
4. Seek help
There are professionals who can help facilitate such conversations, Chochinov said.
“There are psychological interventions and therapeutic approaches … to help them articulate the things they want known,” he said, “[whether it’s] finding someone else, words or wisdom or guidance, what matters and how they want to be remembered.”
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