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Dead Letter Office

April 16, 2009

Lisa Katayama is fantastic writer and I’m excited that she has taken up a residency on BoingBoing Gadgets. She recently told about a Japanese woman who sends text messages to her recently deceased husband’s cell phone. Her husband died of asbestos exposure, and she will be publishing all of her texts to him as a book in order to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos. The story is so sad, tender, and poignant. Here’s her piece:

65-year old Toshiko Fukuda of Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, lost her husband to asbestos on April 17th last year. Her husband, Motoo, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006, probably from the steel pipe factory he worked at. He got worker’s comp, but the disease ultimately destroyed his lungs and left him with hallucinations for the remainder of his life. Shocked, the widowed Fukuda started sending text messages to her dead husband every time she thought of something she wanted to say to him. Things like: “I couldn’t live if I didn’t think you were still beside me. I can’t live [without you]. I’m crying every day” and “I want to call you ‘Otosan’ to my heart’s content. Why do you have to be inside such a small urn?” Every time she sent a message, the phone by his home shrine vibrated (she made sure it was always charged).

Now she’s publishing a book with the loosely translated title Job Transfer to Heaven Without Family-I Wanted to Be With You Longer, a compilation of all her text messages from the past year that she hopes will educate the public about the dangers of asbestos. [via Yomiuri via Asia Daily News]

Image from Geekologie

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