In an incredible twist of fate, a father, experiencing his own overwhelming grief, received the texts. They kept him alive.

Losing someone we love is one of the hardest experiences we ever have to endure. And despite the fact that grief eventually comes for us all, it doesn’t come with a handy instruction manual outlining “10 Easy Ways to Overcome Grief,” unfortunately.

Because grief ISN’T easy. And we all deal with it differently, in our own time and in our own way.

For 23-year-old Chastity Patterson, losing her “Daddy” in 2015 in a horrific car accident was devastating. Jason Ligons may not have been her biological father but according to Chastity, “blood could not make him any closer.”

To help her cope with her grief, Chastity texted him every day after his death. For years.

On the fourth anniversary of his death, she received a reply.

An Unlikely Connection Between Strangers

For four years, Chastity sent daily text messages to Jason’s phone number, sharing updates about her life.

In a crazy twist of fate, it turns out that her messages weren’t just floating aimlessly in the cloud.

Unbeknownst to Chastity, they were being received by a man named Brad, who tragically lost his daughter in a car accident in 2014. *Chills*

Every day for four years the grieving dad quietly looked forward to and read Chastity’s texts. And for four years, it was these very texts that kept him going.

On the eve of Jason’s fourth death anniversary, Chastity decided to send a lengthy message, sharing all the highs and lows of the past four years.

“Hey Dad it’s ME,” she wrote. “Tomorrow is going to be a tough day again!”

Chastity went on to tell him that she beat cancer and graduated college with honors. She fell in love, had her heart broken (“you would have killed him”), lost all her friends, and hit rock bottom, but she came back stronger than ever.

She ended the text with, “I’m doing great, you would be so proud of the woman I have become…I just wanted to say I love you and I really do miss you.” 

And then…Brad responded. (Gird your hearts.)

A Grieving Father’s Response to a Grieving Daughter

text message

“Hi sweetheart, I am not your father, but I have been getting all your messages for the past four years,” Brad wrote back.

“I look forward to your morning messages and your nightly updates. My name is Brad and I lost my daughter in a car wreck August 2014 and your messages kept me alive. When you text me, I know it’s a message from God.’”

Brad via Facebook/Chastity Patterson

Brad explained that he wanted to text her back for years but he didn’t want to break her heart.

He continued, “You are an extraordinary woman and I wish my daughter would have become the woman you are, thank you for your everyday updates, you remind me that there is a God and it wasn’t his fault that my little girl is gone.”

He went on to call her his “little angel” and to tell her, “I’m sorry you have to go through this, but if it makes it any better, I am very proud of you.” 

A Grieving Daughter Is Finally Ready to Move On

Brad’s words of affirmation were the sign Chastity needed to finally close the chapter on her grief.

She shared screenshots of the text messages on Facebook and captioned her post: “I text my dad everyday to let him know how my day goes, for the past Four years! Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let him rest!”

Her post (which has since been removed) went viral, capturing the hearts of millions. (And the ire of a few cynics who questioned if it was real).

Chastity quickly responded to the naysayers with a follow-up post, explaining that Jason may not have been her biological father but he was still her dad and a role model for a lot of the kids in her small hometown in Arkansas.

“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,” she wrote. 

“I’ve cried with him, told him everything and even became very independent because he took the time to love me and show me what happiness looks like. SO YES Jason was my father but he was a role model for many kids in our town,” Chastity added. 

As for why she chose to share the texts in the first place? She wanted her friends and family to know that no one walks through grief alone.

“I shared my messages for my friends and family to see that there is a God and it might take 4 years, but he shows up right on time!”

Chastity Patterson

The Power of Human Connection

Call it fate, or a miracle, or some crazy twist of happenstance, but it would seem that Chastity and Brad’s connection was meant to be. Two complete strangers, walking similar paths, somehow found each other when they needed it most.

Chastity’s texts helped her to feel connected to her dad even in death, but even more incredible is that they helped a grieving dad cope with the unimaginable pain of losing his daughter.

Knowing that we aren’t alone, especially when the world feels darkest, may not stop the agony of grief but it does go a long way in finding healing and peace.