Head banner.
CCM Periodicals Reading Room   


Letters for Panda, Who Is in Heaven*


I’m not used to calling you Li Hong when I write to you, so I will just call you “Panda” like before. It’s more intimate this way. Today is the 14th day since you went to Heaven, our home above. It must be beautiful there. You must be having fun and running around. In Heaven, there are no tears, no sorrow, no sickness, or suffering.

Do you miss me? Your smile is bright like an angel’s.

You didn’t recover from COVID. On the night you left, I wanted to call 120 and have you sent to the hospital by ambulance but you refused. You didn’t want to suffer anymore; you left like a soldier. I am still struggling with COVID. It has been half a month now. What a torturous, difficult thing, being alive!

I remember our last conversation. I had a high fever. You were on oxygen, lying with a respirator on. I asked if you were suffering a lot. Usually, when you were suffering, you would take it all on your own, not wanting your loved ones to know. But this time, you said you were. I replied that whether the two of us came out on the other side or not, the Lord Jesus Christ was there with us.

The next morning, you “left” quietly, not letting your mother and me see your last suffering or struggle. I caressed your chest; it was still warm. Your hand, hanging low, was damp with sweat and cold. I called 120 for an ambulance. I also called two of our sisters from church. I washed your face for the last time, buttoned up your down vest, and tucked you in. I didn’t want you to be cold.

Our family came from afar overnight to say goodbye to you in the funeral parlor the next day. I had them help you put on the holy robe of Christ; it was white with a red cross in the middle. Your face brimmed with peace; your lips curled in a smile that was barely there.

The pastor did a prayer of blessing for you. Brothers and sisters from church and our family sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” to escort you to Heaven. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). In this life, the two of us, disabled, fought for our lives for 18 years. We went through every difficulty and hardship, but we also experienced God’s mercy and blessing fully.

I have no idea what sorrow is right now. The most important part of my life is lost without you. Every night when I think of you, I talk to you in my head. I turn on your mobile phone to play the songs of praise that you saved. All night, they sing gently to me.

Besides our family, your schoolmates, and your co-workers showing care and comfort to me, the brothers and sisters from church have also given me a lot of love. Every day, I pray that God will give me more strength so that I may get better day by day and recover from COVID.

Panda, you need to cheer me on in Heaven and watch over me, okay?


Do you miss me in Heaven? I miss you.

When I miss you, I talk to you for a bit. You loved it when I babbled. If I didn’t, you would be anxious, knowing that I was upset. Whenever I talked, you were always all smiles, relaxed. You would hold my hand from time to time, and we could feel each other’s warmth. I still remember the warmth of your chest.

It’s snowing in my hometown. Snow falling everywhere; it’s freezing. I haven’t gone back for winter in so many years.

After 18 days, I have finally recovered from COVID, testing negative. Now, I practice standing every day, trying to regain my lost strength. I pray that God will hold me up, heal me, and replenish my strength so that I can visit my father, who is also sick with COVID.

Every night, I hold my mother’s hands in prayer, praying for every family member, including your parents and your sister and her family. I pray that God would give us peace for this new year in the aftermath of what has happened.

The sun is finally out. A rare ray of sunlight. I am under the sun, thinking of you—thinking of the times we bathed in the sunshine. Looking at the clouds floating past, I am wondering: Are you here with me hiding behind the clouds?

In the harsh winter of 2022, a lot of families broke apart because of the pandemic—even the winds cried in sorrow. Every day when I wake up, I cry to the Lord, with my hands on my heart, that I may get up from my bed, be back on the normal track of life, and move onwards slowly.

My sister finally agreed to spend Lunar New Year’s Eve with me and father in the hospital. I bought the New Year’s goods online, as well as daily necessities and food for my mother, wanting to lessen the burden on my family so I won’t have time to dwell in sorrow, guilt, or sadness.

Some days may only be endured. In the 18 years that we lived together, God’s invisible hand supported us, and many times we could only power through. You have always hoped that I could be a female warrior of bravery and valor. But I have always been a scaredy-cat. My instinct is to run when there is suffering. But in the end, I cling to God’s hand for dear life and feel a little safer.

Is God, slowly and imperceptibly, turning me into you? Turning me into the person that you expected? Magnanimous, perceptive, focused, and composed? I miss your smiling face because you would always smile when you saw me. You have given me most of my smiles. I found our old videos on my phone, and I thought I would cry, but I didn’t. I was joyful. These memories remind me that we are only separated in body, but not in soul.

Lunar New Year’s Eve is only two days away. Spring is upon us. I know you are joyful and content in Heaven; this is my comfort on Earth.

Do you miss me up there? If you do, bless me deeply. Bless our parents and family members with a peaceful New Year.

I pray that I will be like a wilted branch that sprouts again in the spring.


You have been gone for one whole month! I count the days since you left—otherwise, I wouldn’t remember what day it is.

Many times, I stare at our wedding picture hanging on the wall of our bedroom and remember our pre-wedding photo shoot. I couldn’t push you around in your wheelchair, and I had second thoughts, worried that I might not be able to take care of you later. But you said that, in this world, it is not difficult to find a caregiver, but it is very difficult to meet a soulmate. You said it was God’s gift that we found each other amidst hundreds of thousands.

I know you are in Heaven, not suffering anymore. It is beautiful there. In the month since you left, my tears only fell twice, quietly, in front of God, in the depths of night, when Mother was sound asleep. Sometimes I feel like my life is as light and as unpredictable as a feather. Sometimes I feel like life is like cracking rocks in the worst earthquake. I need God’s hand to put my broken heart back together again.

I am not counting on another person to love me like you did in this life. I just cling to what God says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).

I pray that you are running in Heaven as a youth does, my love!

Editor’s Note: The author of this article is the wife of Li Hong, the author of the previous article. The letters were abridged.

*This story was first published in Chinese Today, Issue No. 737 (September 2023) and was translated into English by Kiara Ngai.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20240202
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Apr-Jun 2024. CCMUSA.