This is my fault. This was my responsibility. I wasn't on the ball, I screwed up and I created a mess of heartache for myself, in addition to untold hours' worth of work over the next few months trying to sort out the aftermath. I am responsible for the loss of five (FIVE!) years' worth of family photos. I could point fingers, I could curse my stupid laptop -- creating the situation in the first place -- I could bemoan the fact that I take almost all the pictures of the kids (and, of course, it's only my photos that have been lost) but I won't, because this was my fault and I need to own that responsibility or I will carry this with me forever.
I screwed up. I didn't back up my photos. I didn't make sure I had hard copies, and I didn't make sure that I had my files stored in more than one place. I'm sharing my story to encourage you, the Reader, to back up yours so that you don't suffer this same devastating loss.
I'm lucky because I've a husband who is well-versed in computers and knows a bit about data recovery -- not a lot, but enough to know what programs to try and what not to do in order to maintain the integrity of the wiped drive that formerly housed my photos and videos of the kids. We've been able to recover some stuff -- I'm not sure yet how much -- and don't yet know if we'll be able to rescue the videos.
I'm honestly happy to get back whatever we can, but my heart breaks a little thinking about what I've probably lost -- videos of candle-blowings, first days of school, school concerts, impromptu songs and dances, opening Christmas gifts... pictures of snuggles, shaggy curls, boys being boys...
My photos have all had their carefully cataloged filenames stripped, so I've lost valuable date stamps that I will have to try and reconstruct from Facebook photo albums, a handful of printed images, and the dates of known events like birthdays and holidays. My brain hurts when I try to figure out where to begin -- sorting this out will be no small task.
I'm lucky that this was a drive that was wiped and set read-only. Things could have been much, much worse.
But, if I'd only done regular back-ups, things could be so much better.
Please, please, back-up your photos. Learn from this. I have.