Said I loved you but I lied
'Cause this is more than love I feel inside
Said I loved you but I was wrong
'Cause love could never ever feel so strong
Said I loved you but I lied

As I was listening to Magic in the early hours of Monday morning, again the question posed itself: When I said I loved you, did I lie? When you said you loved me, did you lie? Was it really love we felt inside? I can't decide that for you, anyone who wants to know what love really is will have to find out for themselves. If love is really only passing, you will always have loved me then. If that's the case, it is definitely not better to have loved and lost. I may never be sure you ever really loved me. You know I will always have always loved you though, at least I hope you do. Regardless, you are gone now ...or are you?

As the song finished, I began this node, thinking only of one thing, but then I quickly realised that it's not just people you love who can disappear, anyone can. A forensic analysis tool had been busy on a hard drive partition that was being refused to be mounted, and I'd been watching its output out the corner of my eye. Amongst the thumbnails of arbitrary images, a face that I recognised appeared fleetingly in the file browser, and I looked over instinctively. "Wait, where did that come from?" I thought. An hour or so later, and I was scrolling through tens of gigabytes of random junk that was not the files I had originally been looking for, and I was amazed at some of the things I came across.

$ tar -cvzf /media/ARCHIVE/Person_I_never_want_to_forget_001_$(date +%Y%m%d).tgz /dev/Person_I_never_want_to_forget_001

Surely? No, unfortunately it's not that simple. If it was possible though, I know I would most certainly want to keep tarballed backups of at least a handful of people. What if for some reason or other the person became no longer accessible or even corrupted? In real life, all you'll be left with is memories, slowly decaying bits of information that you once took for granted. If your own memory were ever corrupted, just how important to you would the memories of those people be?

Remember that sunset on the beach two weeks after you met the love of your life? Remember how your Mum used to sing when you were getting dinner together in the kitchen? Remember those tiny fingers that held yours so tightly like he knew he'd never get to be any older?

Over time, the pain may dull, or maybe it's just you getting numb, but when someone close to us is gone, it leaves us scarred for life. There is no safely-stowed archive we can roll back to, and even the most sophisticated recovery tools can only produce a fragmented reassembly. Every person is unique and irreplaceable, treasure them while you have them. And if you can, never ever let them go.

Yes, I was always okay with being woken by you. And yes, it's nice to be needed.

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