This telephone on a Kamloops hiking trail offers connection to the 'other side' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This telephone on a Kamloops hiking trail offers connection to the 'other side'

'The Telephone of Infinity' at Peterson Creek Park.
Image Credit: Contributed
February 02, 2021 - 11:55 AM

A mysterious phone mounted to a piece of plywood has shown up on a Kamloops trail this month, and it's drawn curiosity from hikers.

A sign nearby suggests people use the phone to send messages to loved ones that have passed.

Kirsty Sykes tucked the phone in the woods on Billy Miner South at Peterson Creek. She calls it 'The Telephone of Infinity' and dedicated it to her friend, Tyler Robinson.

Robinson died in January 2017 of an overdose, part of a epidemic that has been sweeping the province for years.

"When we were kids, Tyler and I used to hike Peterson Creek all the time with our friends. It's such a special place to us. I think it is for others in Kamloops too, so it seemed like an appropriate place to put this phone."

She hopes The Telephone of Infinity will help others to process grief comfortably. Many people have experienced the loss of a loved one without saying 'goodbye' due to the pandemic, the opioid crisis or otherwise. She hopes the phone can allow those who need it a way to coexist more closely with death and those who have passed.

"Sometimes these physical coping mechanisms can seem silly, but sometimes it's the silly things that help the grieving process," Sykes says.

The sign reads: "It is a tool to guide us through our grief. This phone is an outlet for those who would like to share messages to their loved ones."

READ MORE: Kamloops woman reads obituaries for 20 years, publishes book about what she learned

Tamara Vukisic has never shied away from the subject of death. She's been reading obituaries for 20 years and recently turned her interest and observations into a book. She praised the phone as a creative and COVID-friendly way to honour of life and death.

"This is an opportunity to lean into that intimate beauty and connection in doing it alone," Vukisic said. 

The year 2020 has forced many to grapple with death unexpectedly. Kamloops-based End of Life Doula, Sandra Ceccon, says she's found many people are uncomfortable with death and what comes with it.

"The Telephone of Infinity is a lovely ritual to help cope with the death of a loved one," she says. "While it might be natural to some, it can be completely foreign to others to be open with death and loss. Seeing it on the trail can get people thinking about death and bring it out into the open with compassion and empathy."

In the future, Sykes says she plans to add a book so visitors can choose to sign as a guest or leave messages for future visitors.

Visitors are encouraged to use the phone as they wish and share a message with someone they've lost. It is advised to bring sanitary wipes to disinfect before and after use.

— This story was originally published at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 30, 2021.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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