Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

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I had everything planned. I was so ready to leave my old city, and so on December 1st I was already packed and ready. I was walking from the parking lot with a small box full of recycling I had pulled from the front seat of my car. I wanted to start off the trip with everything neat and clean. I dumped the recycling into the bin, noticing the recycling truck on its way into the complex. “Perfect timing,” I thought.

I walked into the house, mentally tabulating the number of loads it would take to get everything into the car. I took out the first load, then the second. I remembered I needed to make a phone call. Where was my phone?

By this point, the truck had been gone for only minutes, but it took me almost an hour to make the mental connection. That box full of recycling had contained more than plastic and cardboard. It also had my phone, and with it, the last photos I had of my pregnancy and my child.

I was heartbroken.

These are the things we don’t often talk about. These are the silly “first world problems” that in most cases are simple annoyances. But this was so much more than an annoyance to me. On top of losing my child, I lost almost every digital memory.

  • The random moments from when I first started showing – gone
  • The day I spent in my 5th month shooting my bow and arrow around my bulging belly on my friend’s land – gone
  • The bits and pieces from the hospital; the tens of photos I had asked my sister to take after the professional photographer had left for the evening – thankfully, I had transferred a few of these to the cloud, but the rest were gone
  • Photos of people and signs and scenery from the retreat I attended in the early months after Adrian’s death – almost all, gone

And yes, while I had transferred a handful of these into the cloud while planning to launch the Adrian’s Elephant website, I had not set up any kind of backup system for the ones that remained. And for many of these, the only copy left is the visual image slowly bleeding out of my imperfect brain. And these fade a little more every day.

After I realized where my phone was that day, I called the recycling company. I was literally in tears, and the representative was so kind. But while I was able to trace my phone to the next neighborhood over, by the time I got there, it was so far buried inside the truck it was irretrievable. And all I could do was watch for the rest of the day as the battery faded, and with it, the last of so much of my peace.

And maybe it seems like a silly thing to be hurting over. A genuine first world problem, indeed. But it was important to me. Every tiny piece of his memory.

And you can bet that since then I have implemented backups on every single piece of technology.

Downloadable graphics for “Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos”:

Shareable graphics and memes about child loss & grief, pregnancy & parenting after loss, grieving without god, life & authenticity, and informed pregnancy.
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