"Blue-Telephone-Vienna" am Kahlenberger Friedhof

What I have long wanted to say ...

                                          …. but have never said ….In these days of pandemic people are dying in intensive care units, they are dying suddenly in accidents, because of heart attacks or are committing suicide. People are dying and we are unable to say goodbye.


In the phone booth:


Speak up!

Say everything!

Say,Thank you!

Say Thanks, for what was, and, for what is!

     “I am here for you now, ..............................” (give name)

     “You will always be in my heart! … I love you! I love you now!”

     Say Thanks!


In these days of pandemic people are dying in intensive care units, they are dying suddenly in accidents, because of heart attacks or are committing suicide. People are dying and we are unable to say goodbye. Death is an emergency, an emergency in every human life. Death is the ultimate concern in all religions and societies and the basis of every serious philosophy and psychology. People die all the time and by the same token their relatives constantly grieve for them.

In Japan, ten years after the tsunami, in which sudden death overtook some 20,000 people, Itaro Susuki installed a telephone with no connection in his garden. He calls it the "telephone of the wind". People from the area, who have lost one or more relatives in the tsunami, come to this telephone box and say into the telephone the things they want to say to the people, who have been so suddenly torn from life. Here they can weep unrestrainedly. There is also a book, in which those left behind can record their thoughts in writing. I call this rite of reconciliation with the dead the "Blue Telephone". Blue is a spiritual colour.

Nothing alters the life of the relatives more than the death of a person. If a person dies suddenly, or ends his own life, the relatives often remain frozen, in deep pain and grief. There are no words, with which to say a conciliatory goodbye. They remain unsaid, there remain unshed tears. If there is no opportunity to say goodbye to a person, the possibility of expressing words of thanks, of reconciliation, of farewell becomes of much greater importance. 

EXPRESSING SOMETHING, finally being able to express something that has lain dormant in me, plagued me and has thrust itself repeatedly and often oppressively into my consciousness, that is the meaning of the "Blue Telephone".

Here the speaker hears his own voice - a very important factor, because "The voice of the person always leads back to the self and at the same time beyond the self" (Arnold Mettnitzer, psychotherapist and theologian). Listening to our own voice means listening to our own innermost existence, in order to say from the I to the YOU the things that I want and must say. The more consciously I speak and say aloud that which oppresses and weighs on me, the more this conversation is able to heal. If this You seeks reconciliation in me myself, a consciously spoken thank you for that, which was and for that, which is, is often sufficient. It releases a conflict, a tension, through which I can meet the YOU, or even the other person, the soul of the dead person. Through the You the grieving person becomes the conscious, forgiven I. The conscious addressing of the dead person strengthens the forces of self-healing.

To say to the dead person, whom I loved, "I have always loved You!" is not enough These words will vanish once more. This sentence gives no release. The sentence must be, "I love You!" "Now!" “

Being close and taking leave - we can again look to the future, become fully alive once more. The Japanese call this " I can trust my pain to the wind." The taboo, which accompanies every death in our consciousness, can in this way be broken. 

Martin Buber wrote, "From being You the person becomes I." .

Practical hints for installing a "Blue Telephone":

At a suitable opportunity a leaflet with brief information on the meaning and purpose of the "Blue Telephone" should be distributed or displayed.  The following items are required: an (old-fashioned) telephone or mobile telephone with no connection, a table, a chair, writing facilities with paper or a notebook, pens. It must be possible to use the "Blue Telephone" completely safely and undisturbed: in one's own room, or in a room temporarily equipped for this purpose, or in a telephone box installed in the open air. 

 Gottfried Löcker, Vienna, October 2021


Information available in the following languages:

German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Croatian, Turkish, Rumanian, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Japanese