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Telephone of the Wind in Olympia, Washington

A Rotary Telephone to Help People Mourning the Loss of a Loved One.

Today, we found out some friends of ours lost their four-year-old daughter Joelle “Ellie” Sylvester to a virus. It crushed me. I have a four-year-old daughter. They played together, sang Frozen songs on a microphone, just a few weeks ago.

Joelle Sylvester

I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child.

I am usually a stoic guy, but I was devastated by the news.

My grandfather died a few weeks ago. My mother and father died not too long ago. Nearly every single day there is a story in the news of another person passing away.

How do we deal with the hurt of losing someone, especially someone so young and so unexpectedly?

I remembered an episode of “This American Life” that talked about The Telephone of the Wind. I had recently lost my mom and thought I could use something like that.

The original Telephone of the Wind is in Otsuchi, Japan. Otsuchi had the highest death toll from the 2011 Tsunami. Itaru Sasaki, who survived the tsunami, purchased an old phone booth, placed an old rotary phone in it, and each year thousands of people visit to relay messages to their lost loved ones.

Itaru Sasaki was quoted in an article entitled, “A Pilgrimage to a Disconnected Phone in Otsuchu, Japan, he said, “Life is only, at most, 100 years. But death is something that goes on much longer, both for the person who has died and also for the survivors, who must find a way to feel connected to the dead. Death does not end the life. All the people who are left afterward are still figuring out what to do about it. They need a way to feel connected.”

Inspired by Itaru, dealing with my own losses, and mourning the loss of a friend’s child. I knew I had to make one.

It is for everyone to use. It is tucked away down a side trail on the backside of Priest Point Park, in Olympia, Washington. In an unassuming location at the dead end of a side trail.

This phone is for everyone who has lost a loved one. The phone is an outlet for those who have messages they wish to share with their lost friends and family. It is a phone for memories and saying the goodbyes you never got to say.

After hanging it up, I picked up the receiver and called my mom and grandfather, got in my car, and drove home.

The Sylvester’s are a wonderful family, and funerals are costly. Please consider helping this family by removing the worry of the financial aspect of a funeral. You can donate to them here

If you need help finding the telephone of the wind reach out to us through the contact us page.


Written by Corey Dembeck

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