Note: Before you read this, grab some Kleenex.
‘Tis the season to be thankful, and that’s exactly what Hyong Yi, from Charlotte, North Carolina, did when he showed his love for his late wife by writing 100 love notes, then sharing them with strangers.
On the one-year anniversary of his wife Catherine’s passing from ovarian cancer, Yi and their children, Anna, 10, and Alex, 7, walked around Charlotte and doled out the love letters, asking recipients to pass them along to special people they knew.
Initially, Yi wrote the notes and posted them on a website, 100 Love Notes. Of grieving, Yi said, “I just had to hold on and deal with it as best as I could,” he said. “[I said] ‘What can I do to take control of this day?’ and so, 100 love notes.”
https://t.co/pKqjAomSvQ #100LoveNotes In memory of Catherine Zanga. The 20th is 365 Days since she passed away from cancer.
— Hyong Yi (@budgetbadger) November 20, 2015
“My hope is that they will take a moment to reflect on the love in their life,” Yi said to NBC Charlotte affiliate WCNC. “It’s been the hardest year of my life. I really would’ve liked to have stayed in bed for an entire year. Anna and Alex were instrumental in getting my life back together again.”
Charlotte man honors wife who lost battle with cancer. Watch #100lovenotes at 6:00 https://t.co/1z4P5uZNsP #cltnews pic.twitter.com/TRfTNHzgBm — WBTV News (@WBTV_News) November 20, 2015
“What I wouldn’t give to have one more minute, even a minute to talk, hold hands, and I want people to take a minute and reflect on that,” Yi said. “Sharing that with somebody they love.”
Fifty of the notes on the website were written from Yi’s point-of-view and the other 50 were from his late wife’s.
“The first 60 are about our life together,” Yi said to ABC News. “The next 30 are focused on the cancer years. The last 10 are an imaginary conversation—by [letter number] 90 she had already passed away. This is for the universe to know who this woman is and how special she is. That’s important to her and it’s important to me.”
His wife had been a prosecutor and last worked as a police attorney for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “She gave all that up so she could spend more time with her kids,” Yi said. “She gave it all up because she wanted the kids to know her and that was more important to her.”
Here are a couple examples from his 100 Love Notes website, notes #1 and #6, respectively (just in case you are not crying yet!).
Hi. I’m not asking much,
Just a partner for a bike ride,
A buddy so I’m not alone.
And here’s another.
It’s a lovely day today.
Whatever you have to do today,
I’m glad to be doing it with you.
“I really hope that at least one person took one of those love notes and handed it out to someone they love,” Yi said. “What I can’t do is go home and tell my wife ‘I love you’ because she’s not there anymore. It’s something I wish I did more of. … I wish I had spent every waking moment making her feel loved.”
As you can imagine, people liked the notes they received from Yi and it inspired them, just as Yi had intended.
@budgetbadger thank you for sharing your love story and inspiring us all to love more fiercely…today and everyday.
— Karen Beach (@KB2509) November 20, 2015
Yi’s #100lovenotes also spread to social media, encouraging users to share pictures, videos, and heartfelt words with loved ones on Twitter and Facebook.
“I hope people pause daily, think about the love in their life and say I love you,” Yi said.
That’s all any of us can do, right?