Friday Five: Get Real

I’ll be kind enough to warn you now: this is not going to be a “life is rosy” kind of post. If I’m going to blog in order to share who I am with others, currently and in the future, then I need to be honest. Sometimes I keep the bad stuff to myself instead of sharing the details, but tonight it’s time to Get Real.

  1. My computer is dead, and it took my pictures with it.  The trusted shop where we got the second opinion echoed the first diagnosis. These are the folks who reassured me that it is nearly always possible to rescue files, so I had held onto hope.
  2. There simply is not a nice way to break that news to a person.  This afternoon, dashed hope came with tears that would not go away. Until they did, with great effort… and then they started again like an annoying leaky faucet.  I slipped a homemade mix CD into the stereo went for a drive with the tears dripping down my cheeks, playing my oldest son’s “Indestructible” metal mix on volume 23 (11 is plenty loud on a normal day in my minivan).
  3. The combination of loud noise and stress may well explain my aching head and shoulders, but I know that it is mostly due to a heavy heart and swollen sinuses from crying. Honestly,  I recognize that this is a first-world problem — dead computer, photographs lost forever — and not anything life-threatening or hazardous to health.
  4. My husband and sons don’t worry about such things as photos, cameras, and scrapbooks. I suspect they could blissfully go through life without any of those things; I know they do not understand my need (is that too strong of a word?) to document our experiences nor do they suffer gladly when I stop often in my attempts to capture beauty.  I have admitted to myself that I am the only one who cares of these things. They have become a part of who I am, so when I got the fatal confirmation at 3pm, I felt like a piece of me had been cut out and tossed in the trash.  Now I am left wondering where I go from here, knowing that the rest of the family doesn’t bother to look at photographs that I have taken and realizing more and more that I am alone in my interests. No one else would sit and watch the slideshow of our vacation pictures more than once.  Many of the things that fill my time and energy, the things in which I have interest, have no meaning to the rest of my family. It hurts to think that I am spending time and effort, pouring myself into things that are unappreciated by my family. When I die, will they all look at each other, shrug, and delete the files?**   There is a very good chance that no one else but me will ever miss those many months of photographs that are now gone forever, trapped in my dead computer.
  5. As I silently sat on a rock near the fast-flowing river (ironically, in a neighborhood called Peaceful Valley), a Canada Goose paddled and waddled its way upstream in front of me. At one point, it was only 6 feet away but it never gave indication that I was observed. Then, not more than 5 minutes later, a small river otter came bounding up the rocky beach, alternately swimming and running. It leaped upon the partially submerged tree about 12 feet away from where I sat, played tag with itself as it ran over and swam around the tree, and then continued up the beach and over the berm into the grasses. At its closest, we were perhaps 4 feet apart, yet I might as well have been invisible for all the attention I received from this amazing creature.  It was at that point that I realized I had just seen a “picture” of how I was feeling:  invisible, unimportant, of no consequence.


**When my mother died, there were a number of things that had been important to her that no one wanted.  For example: she took a trip to Scandinavia sometime in the last 10-15 years, but never shared her pictures with me. They were stored on her computer with no journaling to explain what she had photographed or where — and more importantly why she had taken the picture. In the end, the family member who was tasked with clearing work and personal files off that computer deleted the pictures.  And while I do journal in my scrapbooks, who is going to want a big pile of scrapbooks?



12 thoughts on “Friday Five: Get Real

  1. I’m so sorry about your lost photos, and about you feeling alone in your interests. Perhaps your boys will develop more interest in family photos as they grow older. Young men seem to live “in the now” more than any other group and don’t think much about their history until they’re older. And I can almost guarantee that their wives will appreciate the fact that your boys’ lives have been well documented, and that your grandbabies will love to sit on your lap and look at pictures of “When Daddy was little like me.”

    But even if nobody else ever takes an interest, I hope you’ll continue preserving your memories. You enjoy it – that’s reason enough to continue. .

  2. Oh, I’m so sorry for you. That totally bites.
    The story of your mother reminds me of my dear friend Alice who is 85 and gave me about 50 boxes of her vacation slides. She just needed to know they’d go somewhere before she died. I actually spent a day going through them, and they were rather remarkable. But what to do? I still have them on a shelf…

  3. Ugh! I am so sorry. I was sure they would be able to save something. At least you still have the photos preserved that made it to your blog over these past couple of years. Hopefully you have some on flickr too.

    Melissawest…have you seen the lamp shades made from old slides???? They’re amazing and go for big bucks! Lots of them on pinterest.

    Hang in there Karen!

  4. I am so sorry that you lost pictures and other memories when your laptop died.
    I don’t intend to sound like a besser wisser – but will you PLEASE get yourself an external hard disc where you save all you important stuff? I bought one 3 years ago for less than $100 and they must be a lot cheaper now.
    AAso – make just one more copy on a CD along with those copies of everything you burn to give to your children and other relatives – just in case…

  5. Dear Karen I am so sorry about your lost photos. As someone else said next time get an external hard drive to back them up…but I am more concerned about how YOU are .please take good care of yourself and thankyou for such an honest raw post. PS is there a photography club you could join to share your passion?

  6. Oh, do I understand how you feel about the loss of your photos. We take pictures of the moments we do not want to ever forget. A photo of a special moment IS often worth a thousand words. I am happy (for a momentary lack of a better word) that you took the time to grieve over your loss. HUGS!!!!!!

  7. Dearest Karen,I’m so very sorry that your photos were lost. I totally get how heartbreaking that must be. I know what it’s like to document the family events and I sure know what it’s like to have those who aren’t all that keen on it. Sons.. they’re like that more often than not.

    The photography, the journaling, the scrap booking.. as much as you do it to commemorate your family, it’s really for your own self.. as it should be. It’s your passion – your enjoyment and as much as you’d like it to be so, you can’t expect others to be on board and feel the same way. They simply don’t, and tough as that may be to accept, you need to be able to let that go and focus on the joy it brings you to YOU.

    The photos are gone (though I’m inclined to believe that if you hang onto that hard drive, there will be newer methods of retrieving what right now seems to be a lost cause). Mourn your loss.. that’s okay. But today, pick up that camera and continue to take photos of whatever touches your heart. But do it for you.

    “Invisible, unimportant, of now consequence”? No, nay, never! I think that both the goose and the playful otter were offering an entirely different message than you opted to interpret in your unhappy state.

    The goose paddled its way upstream. That would be against the current but slowly, steadily and calmly, it gets to where it needs to be.

    That river otter, especially had a gift for you. It allowed you the glimpse into its play. You were invisible in a very good way. You became part of the scene – allowing that otter to be herself. Not for her mate. Not for her offspring. But for her own joy of being. She might well have been there to remind you of the value of indulging in what you love for the sheer pleasure of it.

    I’m not trying to minimize how you’re feeling. I very much understand the great loss of cherished images. But don’t lose your own self-value along with it. You have a gift to put things together in a way that documents time and events, but more importantly, makes you feel good about what you do. You have lost the images but you haven’t lost the ability. New events are happening all the time. They’re waiting for creative you to recognize their value. While you’re at it, recognize yours as well.

    Hugs to you.

  8. Karen, believe it or not, your sons and husband really would miss your pictures. The biggest clue is how much they are always smiling when you capture their images in photographs. Take this experience as an extremely frustrating bump in the road and then count your blessings. Everybody is healthy and you have the time to take pictures, journal and go on retreats and make beautiful jewelry, all with your family’s blessing. You go girl! You are going to be fine and luckily, a lot of your pictures are preserved in your blogging and Facebook archives.

  9. I agree with Smitten…hang onto that laptop, those pictures may be salvageable someday! And also, what Lise said about future DILs 🙂 I know I’d be upset if I lost pictures, but … I have an attitude of it is what it is. Hang in there, my friend…and that otter viewing, how lucky for you!

  10. I can so relate to this situation only mine turned out on a much happier note. I am happy that you are continuing to scrap book and document your life along with your family’s. I have to agree with the lady who said that one day your grandchildren will sit on your lap and look through all your hard work. Hugs and know you are not alone in this.
    And seeing that otter must have been such a wonderful time. I know I enjoy watching the wild life in my neck of the woods Canadian style. Hugs for your hurting heart.

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