Carole Adler lost her 21-year-old son Taylor last May when he was struck and killed by a driver-on-the-run during a police chase near Longmont, Colorado. He was training to become a Colorado State Trooper at the time.
Overwhelmed by the loss, Adler continued to text Tayor's cell phone after his death, telling him she loved him and missed him as a way to help mend her broken heart and work through the grief.
"Every day, it hits me like a ton of bricks when I can't text him," Adler told 9News. "We're just that close. Everything that happened in his life was in my life."
On August 4, Adler was feeling particularly sad. "The urge to text you talk to you is strong tonight," she texted. "I miss you. So much. I just want to see you feel you and hear you. I don't want you gone from me."
This wasn't the first text Adler had sent to Taylor's old phone, but it was the first one to receive a response.
Sergeant Kell Husley from the Greeley Police Department had gotten a new work phone that summer. The 33-year-old started received Adler's messages right away, but he assumed they were a wrong number and ignored them. After reading Adler's particularly emotional message on August 4, though, Husley finally decided to respond.
"So I sent a text back and identified myself, and said 'I'm with the Greeley Police Department, and I don't think your texts are going where you think they are,'" he said.
Adler responded right away, and so began a relationship between the mother and the officer. And while Husley told 9 News he had initially offered to change his number, he said Adler likes the connection and asked him to keep it because he was doing the job her son had dreamed about.
He added that Adler still occasionally texts him to remind him to be safe and ask how he's doing.
"It's like I always have a little angel in my pocket now," he said.
In May 2016, Taylor's name will be added to the national memorial to fallen officers.