Grieving Dad Gives 100 Love Letters to Strangers in Late Wife's Honor

Hyong Yi lost his wife Catherine Zanga to ovarian cancer on Nov. 21, 2014, and after going through the hardest year of his life, Yi wanted to do something to honor Zanga on the anniversary of her passing.

He teamed up with a few of his late wife’s friends and wrote 100 love notes, all based on memories and conversations he had with Zanga. Fifty of the letters were written from his point of view, and the other half were written from Zanga’s, Yi told WCNC.

Image courtesy of Lindsay Hart / Hart to Hart Photography
Image courtesy of Lindsay Hart / Hart to Hart Photography
Image courtesy of Hong Yi

“My hope is that they will take a moment to reflect on the love in their life,” Yi told WCNC. “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 and his two children passed the letters out to 100 strangers on Friday, Nov. 20, and the response over the last week has been incredible. Photographer Lindsay Hart captured a number of images of the family passing out the notes. Many individuals were moved to tears when they heard the family’s story.

Image courtesy of Lindsay Hart / Hart to Hart Photography
Image courtesy of Lindsay Hart / Hart to Hart Photography

“We all need a reminder of what’s important and that’s my job today,” Yi told WBTV prior to passing out the cards.

“In daily life, we get so busy that we often forget to express our love for one another. We assume our loved ones will always be there,” Yi wrote in a post on the project’s Facebook page. “Today, I invite you to take a moment to honor the loves in your lives. Let’s remind ourselves what’s most important in life – sharing our love with one another. Please join #100LoveNotes in writing a love note or sharing an expression of love (ex. – chalk art, post-it note, skywritten note, etc.) with someone you love and share it on social media with the hashtag #100LoveNotes.”

Image courtesy of Lindsay Hart / Hart to Hart Photography

In the notes’ envelopes, Yi enclosed blank cards so recipients could pen a love letter to someone dear to them. Since then, hundreds of people have posted their own notes (and even snapshots of Yi’s original letters) under the #100LoveNotes hashtag. Here are some of our favorites:

My #100LoveNotes letter from the man himself, Hyong Yi. Keep an eye out for my response, coming soon.

A photo posted by Andrew Goh (@thegohjo) on


#100lovenotes A photo posted by Tim Cravens (@tim_cravens) on


#beforeidiewall #clt I want to find #love like Hyong and Catherine. #100lovenotes

A photo posted by hlyblnd (@hlyblnd) on


Today’s a good day for love too. #100lovenotes A photo posted by @kbeach2509 on


For more photos, visit Hart to Hart Design’s Facebook page and website, and for more information on 100 Love Notes, be sure to check out

The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself in regards to a cancer diagnosis. What would you say or wish someone had told you? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

h/t BuzzFeed


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Bone Cancer

10 Surprising Benefits of Surviving My Life-Threatening Illnesses

Sometimes it takes a small event to remind me of how much I have really achieved in my life (aka being alive!). I’ve been in and out of hospitals since I was 5 years old, when I was first diagnosed with bone cancer. My cancer came back at age 13. Chemo and radiation did a number [...]

Ryan Gosling Finds the Perfect Way to Honor Young Man Who Died From Cancer

Ryan McHenry, a Scottish filmmaker best known as the creator of the Vine (short video clip) series called “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal,” died of bone cancer on Sunday, May 3, according to Time. He was 27. In the Vines, compiled into one YouTube video below, McHenry made it appear that Ryan Gosling was [...]

This Professional Dancer's Cancer Story Is Not Just Another Cancer Story

“How do you find the courage to move on when your life is spinning out of control?” professional dancer Brianna Mercado asks the audience in her TEDxBend Talk below. “To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out.” The 22-year-old bone cancer survivor gives a powerful 14-minute speech — but she doesn’t just tell [...]

There's Only One Word That Accurately Defines This Woman

Danielle Orner has called herself a lot of things. In high school, she was a cross-country runner, an aspiring writer, a friend. When she was 15 years old, she became a bone cancer patient. At 16, she added “amputee” to her list after the disease took her lower right leg. In college, though her cancer [...]