I lost a brother when I was just a kid – I was only 4, he was 10 (I think) and hit by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

I don’t remember my brother at all. I’ve realized any memories I have of him are just shadows of photographs displayed in darkened corners. Stories retold by my parents years later.

I wonder how things might be, had he left more of a trace. If he’d written, or drawn, or photographed, or anything that produced artifacts that could then help me to feel what he was. (sure, he was only 10, but my 6 year old has had several orders of magnitude more media recording his life than my brother ever did)

He’s gone. I’ll never really know anything about him.

My father in law died last christmas. He had a few scattered photographs of his childhood and early years, but that’s about it. Much of his history went to the grave with him.

When I die, my son (and his, etc…) will know something about me. They’ll know something about my son’s childhood. They’ll know from several perspectives, from documentary and real life snapshots of who we were. Who we are. What will this mean to them, in the decades to come? I don’t know. But I’d rather have a few gigabytes of stuff to sift through, than struggling to remember anything of a brother now lost forever.