NEWPORT, AR — This story of a message from the hereafter — well, sort of — may make your heart beat a little faster, but not out of fright. Chastity Patterson has sent text messages to a man she regards as a father figure twice a day in the four years since he died. About a week before Halloween — the holiday some believe lifts the veil between the living and dead worlds — the Newport, Arkansas, woman got a reply.
In the messages, Patterson told the man she calls Daddy about everything going on in her life. She beat cancer after promising him before he died that she would take better care of herself. She finished college and graduated with honors. She fell in love and had her heart broken, picked herself up, and became a stronger woman.
Patterson lost her friends and “hit rock bottom, but I found someone who came into my life and saved me,” she wrote in Facebook post on Oct. 25, the four-year anniversary of the man’s death. She said she’s ready to have children, but is wary of marriage, mainly because she doesn’t want to walk down the aisle without him by her side.
“I just wanted to tell you I love you, and I really do miss you,” Patterson signed off.
A man named Brad who had been assigned the man’s phone number knew the four-year anniversary of his death was the day he had to reply.
“Hi, sweetheart,” the message began. “I am not your father, but I have been getting your messages for 4 years. I look forward to your morning messages and nightly updates.”
Brad’s daughter was killed in a 2014 car crash, and Patterson’s messages have been a lifeline.
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“Your messages kept me alive,” he wrote. “When you text me, I know it’s a message from God.”
The man wrote that he has been wanting to answer her texts for years, but didn’t want to break her heart. But he wanted her to know he thinks she has grown into an extraordinary woman, like his own daughter would have had she lived.
The daily updates “remind me there is a God and it wasn’t His fault that my little girl is gone,” the man wrote.
“He gave me you, my little angel. … I’m sorry you have to go through this, but if it makes it any better, I am very proud of you.”
For Patterson, the reply was the answer was a lifeline, too.
“I text my dad every day to let him know how my day goes, for the past four years!” she wrote. “Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let him rest!”
The post has been liked, shared and commented on tens of thousands of times. After some people commented she’d made the whole thing up, Patterson clarified in a later post that Jason Ligons, the man she had been texting, wasn’t her biological father, but said “blood could not make him any closer.”
Her biological father is still living, but like a lot of kids growing up in rural communities, her parents were working “two or three jobs to make ends meet” Patterson wrote.
Patterson met Ligons at the skating rink he ran. It was a popular hangout for kids in her small town.
“Jason was there for so many children, giving them rides, (letting) 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!” she wrote. “He was the guy you could get mad at one weekend but come back and be happy he got on to you.”
He never missed a school dance, prom or sporting event, and “he would give me long talks about my mouth and attitude,” Patterson 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,” 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.”
She said she didn’t share the messages for personal gain, but “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!”