Tragedy struck in 2006 when Richard died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism at age 45. Besides his millions of fans and best-sellers, he also left behind Kris, his wife of 21 years, and his daughters Jasmine and Kenna.
During their 25-year relationship, Richard wrote hundreds of love letters to Kris. One which particularly had special meaning to her was the one he wrote for their 18th anniversary. "It was just incredible," Kris says. "It was everything that he would say in his last hour of life. Everything that he would say about life and everything he would say to me." She turned that epic letter into an inspirational book called An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love.
"If I had an hour to live, I'll tell you who I wouldn't call," Richard wrote. "I wouldn't call my financial planner, my banker or my CPA. I wouldn't be checking my voice mail, my e-mail or my Palm Pilot. ... No, if I had an hour to live and I could make one phone call, it would be to my life partner, Kris."
"In this experience of losing Richard so suddenly and grieving his loss, it has just given me so much strength and comfort to feel so complete in our relationship," Kris says. "Just to know that he felt so complete when he left. Just to know that he walked out the door that day, he had said it all—he had appreciated us so fully."
In An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love, Richard also addressed his daughters, Jasmine and Kenna. "If I could live this life over again, I'd spend less time talking and more time listening. Saying goodbye to the girls, I cried when I realized I hadn't listened nearly enough to them over the years and they have so much to say. In my attempts to share my own wisdom, I've missed out on hearing theirs," he wrote. "That's something I'd change for sure and it would have been easy to do."
Jasmine says despite what he wrote, her dad was far from how he described himself. "I think that he was the most amazing listener," she says. "And that was one of the things that I loved most about him."
"That is what everybody is looking for," Oprah says. "They're looking for the fact that I'm not just talking and you're listening, but I feel that you heard what I had to say."
Kris says Richard lived his life, every day, to its fullest. "He did everything just the biggest way he could," she says. "He listened the biggest way he could. He wrote as fervently as he could. He did everything that way. And I just think that that was his main goal in life was to live completely, so that if it did happen, that he walked out the door, then he was complete."
If Kris could have one more day with Richard, she says it would start just like every morning did—with the two of them talking. "I mean, we would get up early in the morning just so we could talk about life together. I would express all my appreciation for how he served, how he loved. He loved in his heart and he loved everywhere.
Country star Billy Ray Cyrus says he knows exactly with whom he'd choose to spend one more day—his father, who died of mesothelioma.
"My dad was my best friend, he was my confidant, he was my buddy, my pal, my mentor," Billy Ray says. "He was everything a dad could ever be to a boy and to a man."
That day, Billy Ray says, would be spent riding horses. "My dad was a horse whisperer. I loved to go out and just ride with my dad and watch him ride in the wind," he says. "It was the greatest joy in the world."
Mia met Kerry when she was 19. "He was immediately the love of my life. I saw him and I just thought he was the most extraordinary thing I'd ever seen. We were together ever since."
After five years of marriage, Kerry was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer and began chemotherapy to gain whatever time he could. Mia got pregnant with the hopes that Kerry would live long enough to see the birth of his child. But 19 weeks into the pregnancy, Mia miscarried. "We knew that was it, that Kerry would never know his child," she says.
Kerry died the following winter and Mia was devastated. "Kerry and I have a double plot at the cemetery. I would lie on my side next to him and just wish the ground would swallow me up," she says.
Before he died, Kerry and Mia had decided to freeze his sperm. A year after his death, Mia underwent in vitro fertilization using his sperm and became pregnant...with twin girls, named Kerry and Skylar.
"I thought I would go on, but I just knew I would never have joy again. I knew I would never have complete happiness. ... And I was wrong—he left me these girls," Mia says. "It's pure joy to have what he's given me. ... It's amazing how the heart turns around and heals."
If actress Jane Seymour could spend one more day with anyone, she says it would be with her mom, who recently passed away.
"I would have taken her to see me dance in Dancing with the Stars," Jane says. "I remember as a little girl my mom used to say that I knocked everything over in the kitchen because I was always dancing. She wanted to see me fulfill my dream of becoming a dancer, and I would have had her see the unbelievable thing happen. ... I would have loved to see her being so proud. And I would have loved to have been able to thank her for making me do this."
Nick Lachey Sings 'Ordinary Day'
Nick Lachey performs "Ordinary Day," written by Diane Warren. The song is featured in the soundtrack for the movie For One More Day
If Nick could spend one more day with someone, he says it would be with his grandfather. "He and I were extremely close. He was almost like a second father to me. We always lived very close to them. I'd go there after school."
Nick says that day with his grandfather would be like so many other days—they'd probably watch sports together. "He was a huge sports fan, as am I," he says. "Those passions he had were definitely passed on to me. I enjoyed the little things—having breakfast with him, going to church with him and vacationing with him." Why has author Mitch Albom's book touched so many people?Embrace your life
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