The twist? He died 5 years ago.
No one can agree on the “right” time to give a kid their own phone, and the average age to do so varies across places and cultures. In Europe, about 46% of kids ages 9-16 owned a smartphone in 2015. In the U.S., the number was about the same (around 45%), but the age range is smaller (10-12). The European study focused on kids with phones but not necessarily data plans; the U.S. report provides data on kids owning smartphones with a data plan.
Luckily, you don’t need data to communicate with the Great Beyond.
That’s what a British radio host found his 9-year-old daughter doing. And the reason why is choking everybody up.
In a Twitter post this week, James O’Brien reported that his youngest child uses his old phone — just to play games, which he downloads before disconnecting the wifi. The phone still has all his old contacts in it, though. And as O’Brien discovered, his daughter’s been messaging one of them.
“It turns out she’s been messaging my dad, who died 5 years ago,” O’Brien tweeted. “I may have something in my eye.”
He shared a screenshot of the heartbreaking yet uplifting exchange:
My youngest has had my old phone for a couple of years. Just for games, which I download for her before disconnecting the internet. Still has my old contacts though & it turns out she’s been messaging my dad, who died 5 years ago. I may have something in my eye. pic.twitter.com/RZ5ZTgGbnk
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) February 17, 2018
She’s evidently been having a conversation with her grandfather for quite some time, regularly texting to let him know she’s thinking about him and to give him updates.
She writes, “I hope you had an amazing life I absolutely love you and my life could not of been this amazing without you!” Later, she follows this text up with, “I’m nearly 10 and Elizabeth is 12! She loved your present by the way your present was your love.”
I’m sorry — let’s go back and read that again:
“…your present was your love.”
“…YOUR PRESENT WAS YOUR LOVE.”
Isn’t this how everyone would like to be remembered? Sure, it would be nice to amass a great fortune. If you amass that fortune by leaving a positive impact — like, say, curing cancer, or breeding a vegetable that tastes just like Cheetos — even better. But at the end of the day, if you haven’t achieved those things and your obituary is just one line — “I loved my family and friends, and they knew it” — wouldn’t that be something?
O’Brien’s sweet story resonated with people across the world, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes. Twitter users shared stories of regularly talking to their deceased loved ones as if they’re still around:
I'm sure that wherever he is, he is seeing those messages and having a big beaming smile.
Sometimes when life is getting me down, I have a little talk with my grandmother who died 17 years ago.
I don't know if she is there or can hear me. But it cannot hurt to hope so.
— Thomas Evans (@ThomasEvansGB) February 17, 2018
I do the same thing. When I feel unsure about things and I don’t know what to do I have a talk with my mom – who died 5 years ago. It makes me feel better
— Claudia Bellizzi (@claudiabeluk) February 18, 2018
And others chimed in to remind us all that holding conversations with our dearly departed isn’t crazy — it’s healing.
I'm sorry for your loss.
You should still talk to her if you want/need to x
She wouldn't want you to feel alone.
I still talk to quite a few people who are gone.
I know they only live in my head/heart but it's still a comfort.
As long as you remember them they'll remain with you
— Local. No tail. (@localnotail) February 17, 2018
We’re hoping this isn’t the last of O’Brien’s daughter’s texts we’ll get to see. Our week “could not of been this amazing” without her.