This Viral Text Message Is a Beautiful Reminder to Tell Your Parents You Love Them
"All you did was to call me to tell me you loved me."
A few years ago, Natalie Coffey Bunting, 41, of Indianapolis, Indiana, received a text message from her 70-year-old father, Charlie Coffey, that immediately made her burst into tears.
You see, Charlie lives in Hickory, North Carolina, with his wife of more than 50 years, and their many dogs and cats. But while he may be surrounded by loved ones, he naturally misses Natalie, whom he only gets to see two or three times a year. "It's really hard on him to be living so far away," she told Best Life.
Natalie said she didn't think much of it when she once called her dad to say hello years ago. He didn't answer, so she left him a voicemail telling him she loved him. And though she had no idea, her dad saved the voicemail and listened to it at least once a day in the years that followed.
Then, one unfortunate morning, Charlie accidentally deleted the voicemail from his phone. And that's when he sent Natalie the most heartbreaking text message:
"Natalie, I have kept a voicemail from you for over two years. All you did was call me to tell me you loved me. I usually listen to it about 20 times a week. This morning, while listening to it, I received a phone call and accidentally deleted your voicemail. I am heartbroken and want it back on my phone. Please call me and leave me another 'I just wanted to say I love you' message."
Natalie posted the exchange on her Facebook page, and has reposted it every year since on Father's Day. Through the magic of social media, it recently found its way onto the Love What Matters Facebook page, where it went viral, gaining more than 72,000 likes and 11,000 shares in just two days.
"You're a wonderful daughter," one Facebook user wrote. "I just had something similar happen when my grandmother passed and was elated to find her voice in my deleted messages. I cried for an hour."
"This brought tears to my eyes," another Facebook user wrote. "You're so lucky to have a dad who loves you that much!"
Natalie was shocked and humbled by the responses the exchange garnered. "The general consensus in the comments was that I'm so lucky to have a dad like my dad," she told Best Life. "It made me realize that maybe I take him for granted, because not everyone has such great parents."
For those wondering, like a good daughter, Natalie of course left her dad another voicemail. "Once I stopped crying, I called him and said, 'Don't pick up now, I'm going to call you and leave you another voicemail," she recalled. "Then he cried too."
"He cries all the time," she added affectionately.
And, as this photo of them from her childhood shows, Charlie clearly has never been one to hide his love for his two daughters.
"I've kept the text forever," Natalie said of the now-viral message. "I've gone through two phones since then and I always make sure that I don't lose that text."
And if there's one message that she hopes people take away from the exchange, it's this: "If you love somebody, make sure you tell them, because you never know when you're going to lose them."
And for another story about cherishing your loved ones, check out This Photographer's Stunning Portraits of Elderly Couples That Will Make You Believe in Love Again.
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