Sheri Emerson received the text from the phone of her dead grandmother.
Sheri Emerson received the text from the phone of her dead grandmother.Facebook/Sheri Emerson

The idea of dear one reaching out from the beyond is romantic and alluring, however, when it does happen in real life, the experience is nothing short of terrifying.

When a UK family's beloved grandmother lost the battle to cancer at the age of 59, her family decided to bury her with her mobile phone.

A prolific texter, who was never more than a text away from near and dear ones, the family of Lesley Emerson wanted to commemorate something she loved a lot, texting. They even used to "inform" her important family matters via SMS, which helped ease their grief.

John Emerson, her son told Daily Mail, "We are a big family of texters. If we ever fell out or had something to say, we'd always send a message – that's why we buried her with her phone...I can't bear to visit Mum's graveside. For me it is a way to still feel connected to her."

The family, however, was not prepared to deal with their beloved late grandmother replying to their texts. Three years after her death in 2011, Emerson replied to one of her granddaughter Sheri Emerson's texts.

'I'm watching over you, you'll get through this, you'll be all right,' one text read. Another text said, "I'm watching over you and it's all going to get better. Just push through.'

The shell-shocked 22-year-old is a care worker from South Shields, South Tyneside and decided to investigate the matter. "Obviously we know that Nan wasn't going to ever reply, it was just something we did as a comfort for ourselves because she loved to text."

It has since been understood that texts came from a man, who received the number when he joined the mobile operator Giffgaff. He had assumed that the texts from Sheri were some sort of practical joke his friends were playing on him. Not to be outwitted, he replied to those texts without realising the troubles caused by them.

After Lesley passed away, her son John had been assured by her telephone operator O2 that her number would never be used again. ".. to think someone else now has our Mam's number is just awful. We can't believe O2 has done this," says a pained John Emerson.

When a number gets disconnected it gets thrown into a general pool for reuse, which O2 failed to explain to the family. O2 is now trying to retrieve the number for the Emerson family.