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Dear Reader,

These 100 Love Notes are a monument to a love that lived for fifteen years and still echoes daily. I encourage you to take a few minutes and share in the joys and sorrows of love. At the end, thinking about the love in your life, I invite you to share your love story and express your love.

Live fiercely. Love completely.

Sincerely,
Beloved

#1 of 100

Dearest,

Hi. I’m not asking much,
Just a partner for a bike ride,
A buddy so I’m not alone.

-Beloved

#2 of 100

Beloved,

I’m not interested in dating,
But I am new to D.C.
OK, I’ll go. Will there be food?

-Dearest

#3 of 100

Dearest,

You just ate a whole Spanish anchovy!
The other one’s for me?!
Nope. I’m not eating it.

-Beloved

#4 of 100

Beloved,

Follow me to the top of the mountain.
Hold my hand; I’m afraid of falling.
Don’t let me go.

-Dearest

#5 of 100

Dearest,

We ate strange foods together, and
Watched an even stranger Russian play.
Would it be weird to kiss you now?

-Beloved

#6 of 100

Beloved,

It’s a lovely day today.
Whatever you have to do today,
I’m glad to be doing it with you.

-Dearest

#7 of 100

Dearest,

To show you my affection,
I’ve folded paper into creatures.
It’s magic, just like you and me.

-Beloved

#8 of 100

Beloved,

You sing the song in your heart
Accompanying me on the sidewalk.
I think you might be crazy.

-Dearest

#9 of 100

Dearest,

Every insecurity I ever had about myself
Dissolves with you near.
You are the best medicine.

-Beloved

#10 of 100

Beloved,

I like being your inspiration.
It thrills me to hear you speak
Of love and happiness.

-Dearest

#11 of 100

Dearest,

Throw your words into the wind!
Open up your heart!
Embrace me!

-Beloved

Note-11-small

#12 of 100

Beloved,

This morning, I told you “I love you.”
It’s now afternoon. What are you thinking?
What’s taking you so long?

-Dearest

#13 of 100

Dearest,

I am a coward for taking so long
To return the love you offered this morning.
Oh, I got a new job. I’m moving to Boston.

-Beloved

#14 of 100

Beloved,

It was a beautiful day on the Cape.
Now, it’s night and foggy.
I’m falling asleep. I trust you to get us home.

-Dearest

#15 of 100

Dearest,

D.C. to Boston. Boston to D.C.
Can we sustain over the distance
Until life brings us together again?

-Beloved

#16 of 100

Beloved,

I’m not afraid of the flying.
It’s the crashing.
But you are worth the risk.

-Dearest

#17 of 100

Dearest,

Having covered so much distance,
I’m beginning to understand my place in the world.
I think it’s beside you.

-Beloved

#18 of 100

Beloved,

This is the Rappahannock River
Where I spent my childhood summers
On a sailboat. It was hot.

-Dearest

#19 of 100

Dearest,

We are a compass.
You, the fixed foot to my wandering,
Steady, as I return.i

-Beloved

i Inspired by imagery from John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning”

Note-20-sm

#20 of 100

Beloved,

Because you love me, I am free
Like an eagle soaring upon the wind
Defying gravity.ii

-Dearest

ii Takes ideas from two musicals. The Eagle image is from “Big River” the song “Free at Last.” The last two words are from “Wicked the Musical” a song called “Defying Gravity.”

#21 of 100

Dearest,

I’m calling to ask if we should get married.
Why should you marry me?
You want a written essay?!

-Beloved

#22 of 100

Beloved,

I hope your speech is strong.
I want to give you my heart,
But only if you’re worthy.

-Dearest

#23 of 100

Dearest,

By the Tidal Basin, late Friday night,
I asked you to marry me. Certain,
Yet still afraid you might say no.

-Beloved

#24 of 100

Beloved,

Yes. It’s Yes.
From the beginning,
It was always you.

-Dearest

#25 of 100

Dearest,

I have the greatest luck.
You could even call me lucky.
So what does it mean that I’m marrying you?

-Beloved

#26 of 100

Beloved,

I have the most terrible luck.
You could even call me unlucky.
So what does it mean that I’m marrying you?

-Dearest

#27 of 100

Dearest,

Together, we’ll be awesome!
We are the greatest team that’s ever been.
I’m moving back to D.C. It’s warmer.

-Beloved

Note-27-sm
Note-28-sm

#28 of 100

Beloved,

You are my favorite mistake.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, … maybe one thing.

-Dearest

#29 of 100

Dearest,

I don’t need a test to tell me who to love.
I believe in you and me.
I do until death do us part.

-Beloved

#30 of 100

Beloved,

Please keep up with traffic…
Please drive the speed limit…
I know they are mutually exclusive.

-Dearest

#31 of 100

Dearest,

Those wooden ducks are our wedding favors.
Mandarin ducks mate for life and
If one dies, the other mourns.

-Beloved

#32 of 100

Beloved,

I have gazed into your heart and soul.
I know you better than you know yourself.
Here’s a pocketwatch for you as proof.

-Dearest

Note-33-sm

#33 of 100

Dearest,

My Jetta is not in it’s parking spot.
I think it’s been stolen.
Of course I locked the doors!

-Beloved

#34 of 100

Beloved,

Climb every mountain trail with me.
Jump off the granite boulders,
Uncertain where we’ll land.

-Dearest

#35 of 100

Dearest,

My hand is open to receive you.
If you need to, squeeze tight.
Never let me go.

-Beloved

#36 of 100

Beloved,

I want to be naked with you
Exploring each other with love,
But I want to watch this TV show. Later?

-Dearest

#37 of 100

Dearest,

You drive West. I go East.
Together we’ll move South
To start a new life in Charlotte.

-Beloved

Note-38-sm

#38 of 100

Beloved,

I love the sound of the ocean.
Walk with me on the sand.
Watch the footprints disappear.

-Dearest

#39 of 100

Dearest,

I was sleeping soundly.
Why are you waking me? It’s dark.
Sex?

-Beloved

#40 of 100

Beloved,

I thought I was pregnant,
But it was a false alarm.
Should I be relieved or disappointed?

-Dearest

#41 of 100

Dearest,

Must we always be on the go?
Lie down here with me. It’s Sunday.
Listen to our hearts beating together.

-Beloved

#42 of 100

Beloved,

We need to change the mortgage.
I think we’re putting down roots.
Here we’ll grow old together with a fixed rate.

-Dearest

#43 of 100

Dearest,

It’s OK if you fail the NC Bar Exam.
You were 8 months pregnant.
Wait, the letter says you passed.

-Beloved

#44 of 100

Beloved,

She is beautiful.
The best of both of us.
Look at her eyelashes!

-Dearest

#45 of 100

Dearest,

It’s a beautiful day!
Come outside and play.
It won’t be like this forever.

-Beloved

#46 of 100

Beloved,

I’m pregnant. Again.
That makes two and us four.
I think that’s enough.

-Dearest

#47 of 100

Dearest,

Sleep. You did the hard work.
I’ll take care of this beautiful boy.
This is how I love you.

-Beloved

#48 of 100

Beloved,

Justice gives my life purpose,
But I want our children to know me.
I quit my job today.

-Dearest

#49 of 100

Dearest,

Everything you do, you do for us.
Everything I do, I do for you.
These are our daily acts of love.

-Beloved

#50 of 100

Beloved,

I have known one great love.
Can you hold me in the quiet
Between our heartbeats?

-Dearest

#51 of 100

Dearest,

I’ve made decisions all day.
Be my brain and guide me.
I can be labor to your management.

-Beloved

#52 of 100

Beloved,

Pack the car. Strap in the kids.
It’s a long drive where we’re going,
But first we should do the dishes.

-Dearest

#53 of 100

Dearest,

Beneath our daily rhythm, lies emotion.
Between the steps, our dramatic movements
Transform us into one.

-Beloved

note-53-sm
Note-54-sm

#54 of 100

Beloved,

No matter what the future holds,
Always remember to dance…
And separate the colors from the whites.

-Dearest

#55 of 100

Dearest,

People come into our lives for a reason,
And I know who I am because of you.
You are a handprint on my heart.iii

-Beloved

iii This one is from Wicked, the Musical. The song is called “For Good”.

#56 of 100

Beloved,

We’ve traveled so far
From piedmont to desert, river to mountain.
I feel the grandness of this land. Home.

-Dearest

#57 of 100

Dearest,

In the spaces in between,
Live the little acts of love
That unite us as a family.

-Beloved

Note-57-sm

#58 of 100

Beloved,

The desert road is just dirt.
It looks dangerous, yet fun.
I’m driving.

-Dearest

#59 of 100

Dearest,

You are my knight in shining armor
Tilting at the windmills
Following your impossible dreams.iv

-Beloved

iv Reference to “Don Quixote de La Mancha” by Miguel Cervantes. The reference to “impossible dreams” is from the musical version from a song titled “Impossible Dream”.

#60 of 100

Beloved,

I thought it was the mountain heights,
But here at home, I still can’t breathe.
Can I rest my head on your shoulder?

-Dearest

#61 of 100

Dearest,

It’s a bad cold. Maybe bronchitis.
You’ll get better; it’s only a passing illness.
Be glad it’s not cancer.

-Beloved

#62 of 100

Beloved,

I can’t catch my breath.
Help me up the stairs.
You are my support.

-Dearest

#63 of 100

Dearest,

I’m not going to work today.
I am with you as we figure out this illness.
Which hospital do you want to go to?

-Beloved

#64 of 100

Beloved,

I went public with it last night.
Now everyone knows.
I’m afraid of how they will react.

-Dearest

#65 of 100

Dearest,

I want to be strong for you so
I cry when you cannot see me,
In the car taking the children to school.

-Beloved

#66 of 100

Beloved,

I wish we had met sooner.
I don’t know how much time we have left.
I hope you’re happy right now.

-Dearest

#67 of 100

Dearest,

Your superpowers alter
People’s reality when you touch them,
But I wish your powers could stop time.

-Beloved

#68 of 100

Beloved,

So that you will never forget
Your love and the mother of your children,
I got you socks for life.

-Dearest

Note-68-sm

#69 of 100

Dearest,

With sheer effort and will,
I can fix most everything.
I cannot fix you, but I hope.

-Beloved

#70 of 100

Beloved,

To gain control over my life,
I have planned out my funeral and burial.
This is how I love you.

-Dearest

#71 of 100

Dearest,

I see the beautiful scars you carry
From all the surgeries in your warrior’s
Crusade to win your life.

-Beloved

#72 of 100

Beloved,

I’m tired and in so much pain.
I know the drugs are not working.
I have no strength to fight and I’m scared.

-Dearest

#73 of 100

Dearest,

I fold one thousand paper cranes
So that the universe will grant you the wish
To rid your body of this pernicious cancer.

-Beloved

Note-73-sm

#74 of 100

Beloved,

I’m afraid of being forgotten.
With time, you’ll move on and forget me.
I’ll be nothing more than a memory.

-Dearest

#75 of 100

Dearest,

Hold still. I have to drain fluid from your chest.
It’s with the greatest love that I cause you pain.
I want you to breathe. I want you to live.

-Beloved

#76 of 100

Beloved,

Here’s an art journal, two teddy bears, and
Quilts made from my t-shirts.
I want our children to remember me.

-Dearest

#77 of 100

Dearest,

I am so proud of you
For the courage with which
You bear your burden.

-Beloved

#78 of 100

Beloved,

I’m not going to beat this!
I’m devastated and angry!
I’m not ready to die!

-Dearest

#79 of 100

Dearest,

See the community gather.
They rise up to protect and comfort you.
Their love for you abounds.

-Beloved

#80 of 100

Beloved,

Our children need a mother.
I am heartbroken that it won’t be me.
Honor my memory when I am gone.

-Dearest

#81 of 100

Dearest,

I don’t want this life without you.
You are my center of gravity.
The future flies apart without you here.

-Beloved

#82 of 100

Beloved,

I hope you continue to dance
By yourself or with someone else.
You have my blessing to find love again.

-Dearest

Note-82-sm

#83 of 100

Dearest,

Wake up. It’s time to go.
The ambulance is here.
“I love you.”

-Beloved

#84 of 100

Beloved,

“I love you too.”
I have no more strength to talk.
Carry these last words forever.

-Dearest

#85 of 100

Dearest,

You, in darkness, falling into grace.v
I’ll keep watch through the night
Holding your hand as you sleep.

-Beloved

v References Les Miserables, the musical. Words from the song “Javert’s Suicide” (spoiler alert). Yes, by now you’ve realized I have a thing for musicals.

#86 of 100

Beloved,

I found happiness with you.
I adored every minute together.
Now live for us both.

-Dearest

#87 of 100

Dearest,

Your hand in mine,
I’m here with you until the end.
Hear my voice, “I will never let go.”

-Beloved

#88 of 100

Beloved,

This is where I leave you.
There are no more tomorrows for us.
It is the heartbreak of a lifetime.

-Dearest

#89 of 100

Dearest,

I am so sorry I fell asleep.
I did not see you go.
I carry the guilt of not saying good-bye.

-Beloved

#90 of 100

Beloved,

Hold your head high. Be proud.
No woman could have asked for more.
I left while you slept to ease your burden.

-Dearest

#91 of 100

Dearest,

While the world sleeps,
I sit with a heart full of love
In the loneliest hour of the night.

-Beloved

Note-91-sm

#92 of 100

Beloved,

Everywhere I go,
I want you to come with me.
Except this one time, you stay.

-Dearest

#93 of 100

Dearest,

Echoes of you are everywhere.
I relive our past in my present.
Each day is the next first day without you.

-Beloved

#94 of 100

Beloved,

Your words were perfect.
I see what you did for our children at my funeral.
My heart overflows with gratitude.

-Dearest

#95 of 100

Dearest,

You remain in my heart.
Your name is etched on my arm.
I am a better man because of you.

-Beloved

Note-96-sm

#96 of 100

Beloved,

The sky is full of stars invisible by day.vi
Look up when you think of me.
I am somewhere up there. Find me.

-Dearest

vi From a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

#97 of 100

Dearest,

I have lived a dream
Being loved by you.
Thank you for choosing me.

-Beloved

#98 of 100

Beloved,

You’ve shed enough tears.
Live fiercely. Live completely.
Don’t ever forget you are never alone.vii

-Dearest

vii The last line is from the song “Live Forever” by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

Note-99-sm

#99 of 100

Dearest,

However long it takes,
When I’m done on this earth,
I will find you.

-Beloved

#100 of 100

Beloved,

When judgement day comes,
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life,
I will say I spent it with you.viii

-Dearest

viii The entire note is the first verse from Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love.”

Note-100-sm

Instructions

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. Today, I invite you to take a moment to honor the loves in your life. Let’s remind ourselves what’s most important in life – sharing our love with one another. Please join me 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.

If you would like to share your love story or leave further comment, please go to https://www.facebook.com/100LoveNotes/. There you can share stories, photos, video, and see how others are celebrating their love.

Visit tealdiva.org/donate to donate funds to the Catherine A. Zanga Fund.

For more information on ovarian cancer visit ovariancancerawareness.org.

Acknowledgements

While the idea for sharing 100 Love Notes as a way to honor the love of my life is my own, its execution would not have been possible without the kindness, generosity, and assistance of many people who are more skilled than me. I would like to thank the following people for their help in taking idea to reality.

Garrett Tichy – For creating the digital monument that you are visiting right now.

Sam White – For the beautiful cover art that greets you.

Wynne Kelch, Kendra Shillington, Amanda Upson, and Lillian Van Rompay for their editorial help in finalizing the 100 Love Notes. Valerie Ashburn, Michelle Cawn, Caroline Hohensee, Laura Jung, and Sue Whang – for offering their handwriting to give voice to Catherine’s words.

Amy Chiou, David Phillips, Garrett (again), Sam (again), CeCe Stronach – all for being part of the brain trust that helped me think through the digital side.

My-Favorite-Photo-of-Catherine

Copyright 2015 Hyong Yi