Chastity Patterson has been texting her dad's phone number every day since he died in 2015. After four years, she received a response that she couldn't have predicted in a million years.
Jason Ligons was always a father figure to Chastity, 23, even though he wasn't related by blood. He may not have been her biological father, but according to Chastity, "he never missed a school dance, prom, my games, and YES he would give me long talks about my mouth and attitude. I had to introduce my boyfriends to him (if I was allowed to date) and he would act like a normal dad and give us the long talk. I've cried with him, told him everything..."
She was obviously devastated when he died four years ago, so she texted his phone number every day as a way to cope, sharing updates about her life and letting him know she was OK.
Little did she know that her sweet messages were actually getting sent to a man named Brad. Brad's own daughter died in a car crash in 2014, and he found so much comfort in Chastity's daily updates.
It was on October 25, the eve of the four-year anniversary of her dad's death, that Chastity decided to send him a lengthy message. "Hey Dad it's ME," it starts. "Tomorrow is going to be a tough day again!" She explains that she beat cancer and she finished college and graduated with honors. She fell in love, had her heart broken, but came back stronger than ever. She's found someone she loves, and she's doing great. "I just wanted to say I love you and I really do miss you!" Chastity wrote.
She never expected to get a message in return, so when she did, it was like fate. "Hi sweetheart," Brad's message reads, "I am not your father, but I have been getting all your messages for the past four years. I look forward to your morning messages and your nightly updates."
He continues, "My name is Brad and I lost my daughter in a car wreck August 2014 and your messages have kept me alive. When you text me, I know it's a message from God. i'm sorry you lost someone so close to you, but I have listened to you over the years and I have watched you grow and go through more than anyone."
He explains that he's wanted to text her back for years but didn't want to upset her or break her heart. He tells her that her messages have been a source of strength and faith for him for so long and that he hopes her updates will continue.
Chastity posted this exchange to Facebook, where it went completely viral. So many people were touched by this story. Chastity wrote, "Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let [my dad] rest!"
After hundreds of thousands of reactions and shares, Chastity took to Facebook again to thank everyone for their amazing responses. "I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and sharing my story. I never would have imagined the response it has gotten. I didn't share to gain anything, I just wanted my friends and family to know that I was okay and this years wasn't going to be hard for me."
Of course, when something like this gains so much attention on the internet, you have to deal with people saying negative things as well. Chastity just hopes that her story proves that the way she chose to grieve is just as valid as anything else. "If you take anything from this," she wrote in another follow-up Facebook post, "know that everyone will experience pain and everyone will lose someone they love...
"No one can tell you how to cope and no one can tell you long, but you need to do it... HOWEVER you grieve is all on you and no one can judge you... So love the people you have now and tell them EVERYTHING, because when they are gone it will be too late to say sorry or how you really feel."