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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dawson

Talk to the Wind

A Wind Phone is connected to nowhere and everywhere at once. It's where those grieving can connect with their loved ones who died, letting their words be carried through the wind. Wind Phones are powerful as a source of comfort, hope, and support. Learn more here.


I have met and made incredible friends within our My Wind Phone community. One of those people is Dr. Gayle, who is, as she says, "healing through writing, channeling my son-in-spirit and sharing insights on All Things Spiritual." Dr. Gayle's 46-year-old son Ryan died a few months ago. She's written an incredibly moving and insightful piece about her grief journey, and the Wind Phone, published on January 4, 2024. This is Dr. Gayles's writing titled Talk to the Wind

telephone of the wind, wind phone, my wind phone
In honor of Ryan.

Talk to the Wind

In the poignant moment of saying farewell to my old life, I knew that something was irrevocably changing. It felt the way one feels an impending storm, but unlike a storm, my life would not return to what it had been before. My son Ryan died, at work a few months ago. In the time since, I had finalized his earthly responsibilities. I’d taken care of finding a home for his truck, his few possessions, and even distributing his ashes to his ex’s. However, turning off his phone was one of the hardest things to do. If his line was live, I could call him and hear his voice. Forever 46, when do I stop calling his cellphone, does that mean I will lose another connection to him?

Weeks later, I sought out a spot in a park tracing my steps against the directions on the website toward an old rotary phone, that appeared to be waiting for me. It hung in its little booth out of the elements as a sentinel of solace for those, like me, mourning a loved one. As I stared at the phone’s “face” and pressed its handset to my ear, I longed to hear my son Ryan’s voice at the other end. Was it possible to place a call to my son-in-spirit?

Wind phones are touching memorials to loved ones who have passed on. Old rotary phones are mounted in enchanting settings, encouraging visitors to talk to those who have left the earthly realm.

Some who use this form of communication, don’t expect to hear anything back, but it is a way of reconnecting. There is something soothing to feeling the pressure of the handset against your cheek. I was reminded of Ryan as a boy twirling the long phone cord to get my attention. While we had both given up rotary phones decades ago, the heft of the receiver took me back to his childhood.

Having lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, I am deeply connected to the elements that envelop that breathtaking place. The tradition of “talking story” (taking the time to explore ideas, stories, opinions, and history with the people around us) has become an integral part of my life, a profound recognition that our hearts can sometimes harbor hollow spaces yearning for understanding and connection. I feel this deeply with Ryan.

As I stood in that charming “wind phone” booth and I took in the enchanting setting, my cell phone rang. I looked at the screen and it read Sydney (Ryan’s daughter). The call lasted only a single ring, ending before I could answer it. I put the wind phone down and called my granddaughter back. Strange that she was calling in the middle of the day when she ought to be in school. I dialed worried that something may have happened, but it went straight to voicemail. My worry floated away on a cool breeze. Another “Ryan moment” unfolded, further strengthening my belief in the beautiful connections that weave through our lives. He was here with me, and nothing was more important to him than his daughter.

After this first experience visiting a wind phone memorial, I wanted more. I longed to see these touching places where you could feel both grief and hope. I visited one that featured a memorial plaque dedicated to their son, synchronicity named Ryan.

As I have learned these past few months, grief encompasses diverse coping mechanisms, acknowledging that “sometimes you just need something different.” Grief doesn’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all solution. Tangible items, such as a phone, can be especially beneficial for those who have unspoken sentiments, providing a more intimate connection to the healing process.

I wanted to become part of this wind phone movement. First, I needed my own rotary phone. As I trekked around antique malls, garage sales and shopped online I discovered a heartbreaking connection. The phone I was inquiring about belonged to a mother whose son just passed unexpectedly. She told me the phone had once belonged to him.

As I held their phone in my hands, I pictured a rotary phone to be in nature. This thoughtful space would also hold a journal for heartfelt messages, be adorned with delicate flowers, tissues, amethysts, and wind chimes. I could see a dedicated plaque honoring Ryan glimmer in the summer sun. Nearby, a little library stocked with books on grief and bereavement. The selections are chosen with care from studies and personal experiences, including materials tailored for children, aiming to encourage open and healthy discussions about the complexities of grief.

My hope is to foster the development of a grief-aware society, serving as a comforting conduit for individuals to connect with their loved ones. This endeavor involves providing incredible resources to help people learn, educate themselves, and find peace.

These days, Ryan and I have a better relationship. I call anytime I’m moved to. I don’t worry who else is in the room or feel the need to check my phone for the time difference. When I want to share something with him, I do. And it brings me gratitude.

Well-meaning acquaintances wanted me to find healing “in time.” Even though Ryan and I are physically separated, I find gratefulness in knowing that our bond remains unbroken. In my heart, I discover peace, recognizing that he is merely — unseen but ever-present. Our love transcends the confines of space, reassuring me that he is always close, right here. In Norse mythology there is a great hall where the souls of heroes are received. Valhalla is a place of honor, glory, and happiness. It is a hall of celebration. I no longer say good-bye to Ryan when I end a call, I say Til’ Valhalla.


telephone of the wind, wind phone, my wind phone
In honor of Ryan.

Read more by Dr. Gayle here.


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