Wind Phone

wind-phonePhoto from NKH World Radio and TV Japan Website


On March 11, 2011, a great earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. This triggered an enormous tsunami in which more than 18,000 people died. About a month after the disaster, in a town called Otsuchi, there appeared a phone booth. Inside was a black rotary dial telephone whose line was not connected.

A man named Itaru Sasaki had built the phone booth in his garden and named it “phone of the wind.” He built it for people to talk to those they had lost in the tsunami and hoped that those who came would be comforted by the thought that the wind was delivering their messages.

He wrote a blog about it, and in the three years following the disaster, over 10,000 people came to the phone booth. Now in the fifth year of its existence, people are still coming to talk to their dead.

Someone who has lost a loved one will understand this. Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of my son’s death, and I still talk to him. I talk to all my “dead” —my son Eddie, my mother and father, my grandparents, and sometimes to my favorite aunts and uncles. My husband Bill has been dead for seven years, but when I see something extraordinary in the news, or I read something that would interest him, I find myself saying out loud, “Billy! Would you look at that?” Or if I see something about a place we’d traveled to, I’ll say, “Remember when we were there, Billy?” I talk to him as though he is in the room with me. Of course, I believe he is. But even people who don’t believe as I do, do it. They talk to their loved ones. They’ve told me.

There is something about the monumental loss called death that causes the mind to open, that invites people to consider that, in spite of all they’ve been taught, there are, in the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “…more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

I use the word “dead” to describe the condition in which my loved ones left their bodies. To me, “dead” does not mean “lifeless.” Life continues beyond the body and the event we call “death,” and something in us knows that. Why else would we talk to our “dead?” Why would we visit a “wind phone?”  Why would we call upon our ancestors? Ask for their guidance, their protection? Something intuitive leads us to the phone booths of our minds. Something in us urges us, prompts us, to call out to them, to speak to them most intimately, to whisper to them that we love them, that we miss them. This is not a tradition bound by borders, nor is it a practice peculiar to any one generation. It is a phenomenon that is very, very old. And universal.

And that something that calls to us to reach out to them…is Love. Whatever you believe that to be.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or

The Messenger IMG_0416




For Those Who Believe


“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.” – Stuart Chase


When my son Eddie died, I had no way of knowing that I was at the beginning of a journey that started where everything else ended – faith, love of God, and the value of life itself. I was lost. Nothing in the physical world pointed to the North for me. Nothing in the rational world offered me a reason to live. It was in the world of Spirit that I found a path back to sanity and eventually, to peace.

It began when I started to experience little things – signs. Like the Christmas decorations that fell from my closet shelf as, full of pain and anger, I declared that I would not celebrate Christmas ever again. I remember looking at the decorations on the floor, none of them broken, trembling and whispering, I hear you, Eddie. I hear you.

Over the years, I have found other people who were having the same kinds of experiences. Just this past Christmas, my brother-in-law got a text message from his wife’s cell phone number. Margie had passed away in July, one day before their wedding anniversary, and by Christmastime, he didn’t even know where her phone was. The message just said MERRY CHRISTMAS. Just like that – in caps. Nothing else. Other members of the family got the same message. From the same number. I don’t know if he ever found the cell phone. I must ask him.

A few years ago, while preparing for a trip to Paris with my granddaughters, I was looking through a Belgian candy box. It was so pretty, I’d kept it for jewelry. There was a little ring inside, one my husband Bill had bought me on a trip to the Caribbean. It had special significance for us at the time. My fingers had swollen, and I had put it away. Seeing it there in the little box brought tears to my eyes. I took it out, looked at it, remembered the day he gave it to me with such love, then put it back in the little drawer in the little red silk box. I closed the drawer, closed the box, tied it with its red silk ribbon, and put it back in the closet. A few minutes later, while sorting clothes to put in the washer, I heard something drop to the floor. I looked, and there was the ring at my feet. I picked it up and put it on my finger. It fit perfectly. OK, Bill, I said, I’ll wear it. I’ll take it to Paris. Bill loved Paris. We loved it together. He wanted me to know that he would be there with us.

Yes, I talk to my dead. But I don’t believe in death any more. At least, not like I used to. They have shown me again and again that they are not gone, but that they are still very, very close to me. Sometimes, when I am not feeling well, I will feel something going through my hair, lightly, like a feather. Don’t ask me how I know, but I know it’s my mother. She used to do that when I was sick, and it always made me feel better. I always say, Thank you, Mama. I feel her. I feel her loving me, like I did that cold, dark, February night in Brussels when the plant in my office burst into bloom, just like Mama’s night blooming cereus from South Carolina. Mama had passed over about two weeks before. I had just gotten back from her funeral, feeling guilty because I wasn’t there at the end. She found a way to tell me that it was all right, and that she loved me.

I know many people now with stories like these. They feel safe telling them to me. Sometimes they begin with, “I’ve never told anybody this before, but…” They don’t want to be ridiculed or to have people think they’re…odd. I’m okay with it, because I know the “rational” world has difficulty accepting things it can’t see, or explain, or measure.

But we know – we who have felt them, or seen them, or heard them. We know that when we are sad, or sick, or lonely, they will find a way to let us know they are with us. They will find a way to help us believe that Nobody’s Gone for Good, and that life is all there is.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It can be found at

The Messenger IMG_0416