Each person has a different way of processing loss. Some write notes, some grieve with others and some send texts to their loved ones.
Chastity Patterson was one of the latter. She lost Jason, a crucial role model in her life, four years ago, and ever since then she’s texted his number daily just to give him updates or say how she’s doing.
While Patterson has a biological father, she still called Jason “dad,” and according to one of her posts, he was a father figure to many children in their small town.
“He never missed a school dance, prom, my games and YES he would give me long talks about my mouth and attitude,” she wrote. “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 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.”
“I come from a small town where there was nothing for kids to do and for a lot of black children whose parents were working two or three jobs to make ends meet the Skating Rink was were we went,” she continued.
“Jason was there for so many children, giving them rides, lets parents have birthday parties there, going to their games, keeping them after hours and even sitting down and talking to kids that people swore would be nothing! He was the guy you could get mad at one weekend but come back and be happy he got on to you.”
On the eve of the fourth-year anniversary of his death, she sent his number a long text explaining a lot of things to him and giving him a life update of sorts — but this time, she got a reply.
“I text my dad everyday to let him know how my day goes, for the past Four years!” Patterson shared on Oct. 25. “Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let him rest!”
In her text, she wrote about all the major milestones she’d experienced since his passing. She’d fallen in love, had her heart broken, beaten cancer and graduated from college with honors.
She also mentioned that she still had a “smart mouth” and was learning to take better care of herself, but after four years it’s safe to say that she probably didn’t expect a reply.
But someone named “Brad” responded, and he had an amazing story to tell, too.
“Hi sweetheart, I am not your father,” he began, according to the photos Patterson posted, “but I have been getting all your messages for the past 4 years. 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 have kept me alive,” he explained. “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. 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, 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 gave me you, my little angel and I knew this day was coming. Everything will be okay, you to push yourself everyday and shine the light God gave you. I’m sorry you have to go through this, but if it makes it any better, I am very proud of you!”
Without knowing it, Patterson had been an angel of comfort to this grieving father even while she dealt with grief on her own terms.
After her story went viral, with her post standing at over 280,000 shares, she added an update to clarify a few things for her readers.
“After reading a few comments and some amazing stories in my inbox I see that my post has touched SO many lives,” she posted in a follow-up the next day. “I’m sorry if people cried and I’m so sorry for everyone that has lost someone close to them.”
“I didn’t share my messages to gain anything and I didn’t share them because I was looking for a Father, I had one and I still have my real dad. 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!”
She got lots of nosey inquiries, so she also clarified that she didn’t know “Brad,” she had seen that her texts were marked as “delivered,” she will not be asking Brad to walk her down the aisle as her dad if she eventually gets married and that she doesn’t have kids.
“If you take anything from this, know that everyone will experience pain and everyone will lose someone they love,” she wrote. “Regardless if that person is a friend, parent (Nonbiological), animal, child or even a role model. No one can tell you how to cope and no one can tell you how long, but you need to do it.”
“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. Also, create a wonderful support team because you will need it! Thank You to so many people who were there for me and my town, we truly lost a wonderful person!”
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