Wednesday 17 January 2018

Grief-stricken man wrote 100 love letters to his dead wife and gave them to strangers

Yi and his wife of 11 years, Catherine Zanga
Credit:Facebook Hyong Yi
Yi and his wife of 11 years, Catherine Zanga Credit:Facebook Hyong Yi

Sarah-Jane Murphy

A man created 100 handwritten love letters and handed them to people he met on the street of his hometown as a way of dealing with his intense grief for his late wife.

Hyong Yi’s wife of 11 years, Catherine Zanga, died from ovarian cancer on November 20 2014.

Yi resolved to stay strong for the sake of their two children and came up with the idea of penning the love notes in the lead up to Catherine's first anniversary.

He told website Buzzfeed that as the anniversary approached he was filled with a sense of dread.

A sample of the love letters Yi wrote
A sample of the love letters Yi wrote Credit:

That's why he decided to make the milestone day a joyous occasion instead, recalling and savouring the best moments he shared with his wife.

It took Yi 45 days to write the 100 love letters which are now published on

One of Yi's love notes
One of Yi's love notes Credit:

“The most difficult, but rewarding, part of the past year has been to try and define a life worthy of Catherine, but without Catherine.

"What is a life well lived? My conclusion: a life filled with love. This, Catherine taught me,” Yi wrote in a Facebook post

All of the love notes were signed 'Beloved'
All of the love notes were signed 'Beloved'

On November 20 Yi and his two children hit the streets of their hometown and distributed the special letters to people they met.

Some recipients asked for a back story, others declined and walked away.

Yi wrote 100 love letters all together
Yi wrote 100 love letters all together

Yi thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“For the last month, I was really looking forward to doing this with my children,” he said.

His daughter Anna (10) clearly learned a lot from her mother's untimely passing.

“Sometimes people take loved ones for granted and sometimes people don’t have their loved ones. Be thankful for everyone around you,” she said.

Yi remarked that his wife had a fear of being forgotten.

“One of the things my wife was most concerned about was being forgotten,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen now.”

"She might be a little embarrassed about all of the coverage the story has received but she'd be incredibly pleased with about how we are honouring her," he said.

Yi inspired an outpouring of love on Twitter and Instagram when he urged people to honor their loved ones using the hashtag #100LoveNotes.

“In my life, I cannot tell my wife that I love her because she’s not here to receive it,” he said.

“In retrospect, I wish I’d done more. And whatever more I’d done, I wish I’d done more on top of it.

"I look at people in my life that are married or in relationships, newlyweds, and I don’t want them to go through the next 40–50 years of their lives assuming that the person will be there," Yi said.

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