Text Messaging Deceased Husband Helps Ease Housewife's Grief

Social media, is there anything it can't do? So commonplace have text messaging, Twittering and blogging become that our lives would feel empty without them - and so, it seems, would our afterlives.

Take it from Toshiko Fukuda, a 65-year-old housewife from the city of Amagasaki whose husband Motoo passed away last year after losing a long struggle with lung cancer.

Distraught at losing her husband, Toshiko decided she was not going to let him go so easily. That's where social media (or perhaps in this case, supernatural media) comes in.

“Tengoku e no Tanshin Funin, Mada Mada Issho ni Itakatta” (Job Transfer to Heaven Without Family – I Wanted to Be With You Longer) is the name of Toshiko's book to be published on April 17, which happens to be the anniversary of the day her husband passed away.



The book compiles 50 selected text messages sent by Toshiko to her late husband's cell phone, faithfully kept charged and set upon the Butsudan home shrine she, like many Japanese, keep in their home to honor deceased relatives.

As an example, one text message she sent last April 26 reads: "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." In effect, her husband's cell phone is acting as a sort of surrogate grief counselor, allowing her to interact with her husband - albeit on a one-way basis - and express her emotions in a cathartic way.



Toshiko got the idea of writing a book when the thought occurred to her that sooner or later, her husband's cell phone would automatically begin deleting the oldest messages in its memory as new ones were received.

The book will include about 50 of her sms messages along with a memoir of their married life, but Toshiko is also hoping to raise awareness of the insidious disease that took her husband so unfairly. "I want more people to know about the problems caused by exposure to asbestos," she says. "I hope this book will deepen people’s understanding of asbestos-related diseases and help lead to early detection and a cure."

As social media continues to integrate itself deeper into our lives, we may expect to hear of similar cases.  Whether it's through sending sms text messages, composing blog posts or even by keeping old cell phones active, some uniquely personal reminder of the departed remains to comfort their loved ones. (via Asia Daily News Online and BoingBoing Gadgets)