There are all kinds of ways to cope with grief— and an Arkansas woman who had been dealing with the death of her father by texting his phone number was shocked when she received a message back.
No, it wasn’t a message from her father. It was a message from a man named Brad, whose daughter had died in a car wreck in 2014.
Chastity Patterson, 23, had been texting Jason Ligons—a family friend she thought of more like a father— since his death in 2015. When Brad responded to Chastity’s Oct. 25th text, she was shocked and moved. It turns out that they were both grieving and had given each other peace.
Patterson shared her message to her Dad on Facebook, where it has gotten more than 288,000 shares.
“Hey Dad it’s ME,” Patterson texted on the fourth anniversary of Ligons’ death. “Tomorrow is going to be a tough day again. It’s been 4 years since I lost you and not a day goes by that I don’t miss you.”
Then Patterson recounts some of the things she’s been struggling with, including a battle with cancer and having her heart broken. But she said she’s ultimately facing the future with a positive spirit.
“I’m doing great, you would be so proud of the woman I have become,” she wrote. “I just wanted to say I love you and I really do miss you!”
In Brad’s reply message, he explained to Chastity that he had been getting her messages for the past four years and reading them as a way of staying connected to his own deceased daughter.
“Hi sweetheart, I am not your father, but I have been getting all your messages for the past 4 years,” he wrote. “I have wanted to text you back for years, but I didn’t want to break your heart. You are an extraordinary woman and I wish my daughter would have become the woman you are.”
“Your messages have kept me alive.”
After the story went viral, Chastity posted a follow-up message on her Facebook page clarifying her relationship with Ligons but most importantly, sharing wisdom about the grieving process.
“If you take anything from this, know that everyone will experience pain and everyone will lose someone they love. Regardless if that person is a friend, parent (Nonbiological), animal, child or even a role model,” she wrote.
“No one can tell you how to cope and no one can tell you how long, but you need to do it.”