Digital Cache

Dearest Rachel –

I keep wondering when the time will come when I’ve found the last remnant of your memory. After all, everything in life is finite, and you were here for only a limited amount of time. Surely at some point, I will run out of photographs to ruminate over, music or other recordings to listen to, footage to view.

It would seem that such a day should be inevitable, but for now, it seems farther off than I have any right to expect. Just today, I’ve brought all of your old iPods to the office in order to charge, and hopefully glean data from them.

Considering I haven’t done anything with them since the accident, I really wasn’t sure what to expect as far as being able to recover everything from them. And to be honest, I really don’t think I was trying to find anything more than the photographs – even though you have a ridiculous amount of apps on each of these.

Now that I think about it, it looks like one of these – I think the white one – was probably inherited from Daniel; I suspect I should probably give it back to him at this point, seeing as how you’re not going to be using it. About half the images on that particular one seem to be downloads of MLP:FIM fanart; which, while not out of character for you, is more his thing than it was yours.

Truth to tell, a great deal of these photographs are hardly of any interest for a letter like this. You didn’t take that many selfies, any more than I did. Most pictures are of scenery, or other peoples cosplay, or were the sort of things that were going on around you that you wanted to document.

Things like:

  • Your last visit to your childhood church before it was sold off, and they moved to a new facility on the edge of town (and completely across town from the campus; evidently they didn’t see Western as a mission field, or assumed that they wouldn’t be able to appeal to those kids. Or maybe I’m being too harsh, and it was the only bit of land they could obtain). You and Daniel took all sorts of photos of the building they were leaving behind, including of the organ, the stained-glass windows and a framed image of the church covenant that I think your dad put together.
  • A nighttime walkabout on the Oasis of the Seas; probably taken on our last night before returning to the port in Miami and heading home.
  • Funny signs and greeting cards that caught your eye and fancy from time to time.
  • Cosplay photos and masquerade contestants from so many conventions – AnimeIowa, Anime Central, Ciderfest, Whinny City, Chicago Tardis… the list goes on, with repeats year after year (the conventions, not the costumes, necessarily)
  • The time a huge branch of one of the trees in our backyard came crashing down, just barely missing the house. We wound up cutting a fair amount of fireplace logs from that thing… although too much of it was still left in the yard by the time you passed away; I hate to admit it, but a few sizable logs found their way into the dumpster early this year. You would not have been pleased, I know, but I was never going to be able to cut through those with the axe we owned.
  • Pictures from our last cruise, to the Caribbean with the Sea Bronies; including folks hanging out in the ‘con suite’ (yes, Purple Tinker had obtained a room specifically for use as a get-together room, not unlike a con suite on a land-based convention), our tour through the Xcaret ecological theme park in Cozumel, visiting the MacDonald’s on Grand Cayman (no, not McDonald’s; although I’m surprised the corporation hasn’t come down on this little mom-and-pop restaurant like a ton of bricks like they would in the States), and all the little folded towel animals that would greet us each night when we came back to our room.
  • Some of the more unusual things we found in your/our goings-through of your parents house; the mess in the garage, particularly after the fire, when some of the singed books were set aside in there; the one book out of which your dad had cut a secret panel into (yes, that old cliché, come to life) and stored what we thought was his military service revolver, complete with ammunition.
  • The closest you ever came to selfies – pictures of yourself after you’d gotten you hair dyed (you decided you weren’t ready to go gray, and while you were concerned about the effects dyeing would have on your naturally curly hair, you considered that loss better than the loss of color – especially when you could dye it purple).
  • Our last trip before the lockdown: sightseeing in both San Antonio and New Orleans – places where none of us had ever been, and none of us had ever traveled like this by train. All to visit your godmother, your ‘Aunt’ Ruth, who was getting on in years, and you didn’t know if you would ever get a chance to see her again.

On that last one, it’s scary to realize just how right you were. But who among us could have foreseen that it was you, rather than your Aunt Ruth, we would not see again?

At least you did include some pictures of yourself here, to give this walk down memory lane a little more meaning:

I just wish I could go back into these photographs, and be there with you again.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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