submitted by Sue Walker
Have you heard of a wind phone? The original wind phone inspiration and creation was done by Japanese garden designer Itaru Sasaki in 2010 to help him cope with his cousin’s death. This wind phone was moved in 2011 to open to the public following the tsunami that killed 15,000 people. That wind phone has since received over 30,000 visitors.
Lucky for you, you will not have to travel to Japan to see and experience a wind phone. Earlier this year, following a video conference talk on palliative care where one of the Beth Donovan Hospice (BDH) volunteer heard about the merits of a wind phone the suggestion was made to install a wind phone at the Hospice. The Hospice embraced the idea, an antique black rotary phone was obtained as a donation from a volunteer, Sharri Martin, and the phone was installed. The installation in the backyard gazebo at the Hospice makes it accessible and available for use by clients and by the overall community.
The wind phone is an unconnected tool that allows individuals that are grieving a lost family member, or friend, to externalize their grief which in itself can be powerful in healing. Words spoken into the wind phone are meant to flow and be carried by the wind. The wind phone offers solace for those that have unsaid messages or those that just want to transmit routine messages to the loved ones that they have lost. It makes no logical sense to dial an unconnected phone, but it provides an opportunity to speak your grief to the wind and for some, offers a certain kind of connection.
The wind phone at BDH overlooks the forested back yard where one can sit quietly alone, not feeling judged while listening to the wind, the rustling of the leaves and the birds. Western culture tends to shy away from grief because it is messy and uncomfortable. It does not have to be that way.
The wind phone awaits. If you do not remember the telephone number of your loved one, just dial their name! The Beth Donovan Hospice offers, free of charge, full grief and bereavement counselling and the wind phone is a tool that can help some in that process. To find out more about the numerous services offered by the Beth Donovan Hospice we encourage you to reach out. Information can also be found on the website: www.bethdonovanhospice.ca