"My dad died unexpectedly this September. I took his phone and laptop because I had a suspicion he was cheating on my mom.
There was so much adult content, so much. I deleted apps like WhatsApp, so my mom wouldn't ever see their message history. I cleaned out his emails for the same thing, deleted accounts on dating websites and adult subscriptions and the like. Deleted Skype so my mom wouldn't ever find any of the messages there either. I emailed the person he was talking to and said he died and got into an argument about how I was lying. Sent them the obituary. I got rid of all the western union stuff I could find, as he was sending them money too. Deleted love letters to this other person.
I don't have the heart to tell my mom and I don't think I ever will."
"My ex's grandpa passed away. I went with my ex, her mother, and her sister to clean out his place. I never met him, but apparently, he was always known as a scary dude and was rude to his wife (she already passed away a few years prior). They were looking through his computer to get his financial information and such but found his emails.
Apparently, he had reconnected with an old girlfriend he had before he married. He emailed her that he had regretted his entire life by choosing the wrong woman and hated the life he had.
Apparently, he flew her out to his place for a weekend and was planning on running away with her as well as changing his will to leave her all his possessions instead of his family. He passed away before he could get the chance. I remember the girls all being angry and shocked. It was an awkward funeral."
"When my granddad died last year, my dad was going through his computer a couple of days before the funeral.
He found a document from before he died that was a letter to his whole family, thanking us for the good times we'd had. He also said he was sorry he couldn't do more for us, how he missed his family who emigrated to Australia during his national service and felt guilty for the distance between them.
My dad read it as his eulogy. I don't know how he did it. My entire generation of the family was in bits. I'm tearing up now thinking about it.
I refused to read it before the funeral, knowing what it would do to me. Only read it once, since but I plan on getting a tattoo of a portion of it as a memorial. I miss him."
"A guy I knew died. He was sort of my friend on and off. We were 'best friends' when were younger before he met new cool friends.
Anyway, the summer before high school, he was with those friends at a trailer park, drinking, and then they were playing at the lake. He disappeared into the lake and drowned.
It was bad.
A few months later, his mom contacts me and says she remembered I was his friend, and we always liked playing on his computer, and she thought maybe I should have it.
So I had my first computer.
I found all these weird 'journals' he had written. And of course, started to read them. Most of it was horrible, I already knew and I sort of felt creepy reading it, but I read it all anyhow, and just felt worse and worse. He didn't say much about me, he called me a nerd a couple of times that I came up, but I was barely mentioned. But there was a lot of crap in it about how much he hated his parents, and then stuff about how he wanted to die and thought about killing himself.
Made me wonder if he just walked off into the water on purpose.
Anyways, wish I'd never read that, and I sure as heck, hope he parents didn't before they gave me the computer."
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"While in my freshman year of college, I had a good buddy who ended his life. The both of us were into computers and when he died, I obviously went over to help his mother cope and collect his things. He had entrusted me as the border in his will that he had written just three months before.
Long story short, I went through his laptop after breaking into it and found a folder that was vague, so I opened it up and found out that that it actually contained plans for him to do something to his school (we went to different universities). He downloaded a .jpeg of his school's map and then edited it in MS paint showing where he would enter and exit the various buildings at the school, he had an Amazon history of weapons he was trying to purchase as well as a hit list of specific buildings he was going to hit.
I think the saddest thing I found though was a simple .txt document near the bottom of the folder titled: 'Why I did it' and it was a single sentence that reads: 'Nobody was ever going to love me anyway.' It broke my heart! I had known this kid since the first grade all the way through college, he always had trouble speaking to girls.
When I went into his search history through Chrome, I found that he frequented 4Chan quite a bit and he would mostly browse pol/ and R9k/ while there. I think this is where he got the idea for his shooting. He would also spend a lot of time browsing Youtube videos of Elliot Rodgers documentaries.
Another weird thing I found in this folder were a few PDF guides, made by the United States Military, about close-handed combat and how to kill swiftly with a variation weapons.
Needless to say, because he was already dead I didn't think anybody would have cared either way and knowing his mother was not good with computers, I took the hard drive out of the laptop and microwaved it and then took it into my house and destroyed it with a hammer.
He had been browsing weapon trading websites and had actually gotten his hand on a few bitcoins to trade. I will miss this kid forever. I am sad that he is dead but also happy that he couldn't go through with his plan to kill as many people as he possibly could before offing himself."
"My grandmother recently passed away and she had an iPad to use as a bible (she had bad eyesight and could only read in Korean). She also wrote little diary notes in there from time to time. She had been sick for all of my life, and she lived about a 40-minute drive away from us. On occasion, she'd send me emails from the iPad and I responded a few times, but not as often as she'd send them. And then she stopped sending me emails about a year ago.
When I was looking through her notes some of them were about how she wondered if I got her emails and why I wasn't replying. One line that got me was when she said: 'I know I shouldn't be looking forward to her replying, but I still am hoping a little.'
I hadn't really cried after she passed away until that point because I was happy for her that she could finally, truly rest in peace and not have to suffer anymore. But I wish I could go back and reply to her emails."
"My brother died when he was 23; I was 19. I'm the most tech-savvy in the family so I had to go through his computer to find emails of his friends and stuff so we could tell the news to his friends, and find his Facebook account, so we could write a final message explaining the news.
I decided to snoop around, found out he was bi, had several boyfriends/girlfriends over time, did some illegal substances for fun, took photos for a gay magazine and stuff. He also had quite a big adult content folder, with varied stuff and some hardcore stuff. Pretty disturbing at first. Also, found out he was exchanging emails with my now-deceased grandfather. Didn't read that much though, didn't want to learn too much, didn't want to 'invade' his secrets too much, I already know 'too much.'
We were close, so I kept everything for myself and never told anyone. I don't want people to learn those things he kept to himself (or shared only with select people). It doesn't change how I feel about him, and the times we spent together, he was an amazing brother, and I don't care of the stuff he was into: he had a lot of fun and that's all that matters to me."
"My boss died from terminal cancer several years ago. She told us all she was in remission. She never told us it was back or that it was terminal. She was out sick for a week with what she said was the flu. I texted her and said: 'Hey do you want me to bring you some soup?' and an hour later, I got the call that she was dead.
I cleaned out her computer to get work-related files that we needed to pick up where she left off. She only had one file saved to her desktop: a scan of her notes from her last oncology appointment that was just called 'scan.pdf' or something generic that basically said it had metastasized and they recommended palliative care. She had also deleted all her appointments from her outlook calendar starting another week or two out. I guess she knew it was almost time.
It was just a horrible, hollow, feeling that stuck with me for a long time. I had been close to her. I understood it was her wishes not to tell anyone but it was such a sucker punch to all of us."
"My mom was into abusing pills and drinks when she died, suddenly, at the age of 48. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone did pills and people were overdosing and dying daily. This was when the pill mill situation was bad in my state.
Whenever my mom got pills or found them, she would look it up on the pill identifier sites. We shared a laptop but she had taken it with her to her dad's house. She was staying there a couple nights while I stayed at home.
When I got the laptop back after she died, of course, I wanted to see what she had been doing on the computer. She was looking at pills on one of those sites but the only one she had looked up was omeprazole. I'm sure she was going through the house looking for pills to steal from my grandfather or aunt or uncle.
The autopsy said she died of 'natural causes' but that pill search has me convinced that she overdosed, even though her last search was just heartburn medicine."
"Years ago, I worked with a guy who passed away in a coworker's living room. Everybody was close to him. He was a nice guy, one of those people that everybody likes.
After he died (at 29), the coroner described him as a 'time bomb.' Something like 80 percent blockage in multiple arteries, poorly managed diabetes. None of us even knew he was diabetic. Coworkers said he had randomly fallen down in their driveway; they asked what was wrong, if he felt okay. He blew them off.
Next day, I got the news that he died. He was fooling around with his new android tablet the night he died. Boss (in the room when he died) asked me to go through it to make sure there was nothing confidential about it.
Checking the browser history, he had been looking up 'diabetic coma,' and 'high blood sugar' and similar stuff minutes before he died. I barely knew this guy, but that kicked me right in the gut. I turned into Walter Brimley immediately. 'Check your blood sugar, check it often.'"
"My father passed away four years ago. To say he was a heavy drinker would be an understatement. He basically drank himself to death and died of cirrhosis in the most painful and agonizing way possible. It stopped his liver from doing what it needed to do over the course of several weeks that he died not being able to get the nutrients he needed for his body to survive. He was 54 years old.
And I'm now glad for it.
After his death, I reconnected with my grandparents -- his parents -- who he was living in their basement. They had disowned me for almost a decade because I had dated a black girl for five years, and they were bigoted about it.
I am an only child of my father, so I was his next of kin. Without a will, everything in his estate went to me. His car, his bank accounts, furniture, computers, etc. My grandparents didn't want any of it, so I ended up with the lot.
I remember cleaning out the basement and finding so many bottles and folded up drink cartons, that I wondered how a person could drink so much, being he had only been there for two years, and I found over 50 hard bottles and 60 drink carton boxes.
It felt weird having all of his things in my place. He wasn't the best dad to me growing up and was distant. My stepfather was more of a dad than he ever was.
About two months after he died, I decided to finally hook up his desktop and clear it out. I was planning on giving it to my half brother to use and needed to see what I could do with it.
At first, it was the normal stuff you might find on a single 50-year-old dude's computer, some adult content, pictures of cars, etc., but as I went deeper I started to find younger and younger people in his photos and videos. It was either young looking actors or inappropriate content.
Then I discovered the large photo files of his car racing stuff. I wondered why they were in high resolution and so large in file size. One picture, for example, was over 200 gigabytes and I was at a loss as to why. Opening it up it seemed to be a large photo of a racetrack but as I zoomed in, I noted that there were smaller photos inside the larger one. Hundreds of them. All of it contained illegal content. Nothing I would ever care to share in detail. I immediately vomited, as it was most certainly not actors at such a young age. The computer had many of these files, I don't even know how many pictures.
I didn't know what to do. I called my aunt, who lived in Houston, who was my father's only sibling and told her and only her. I knew she would be the only person I could tell without them freaking out. She ended up freaking out a little.
She told me that we needed to destroy everything. Penalties for any content involving kids were severe and it would be crazy if that many files were discovered. If I took it to the police, they might have helped, but it might have easily gone the other way. My dad was dead, so it would be over with.
He had a number of burned CDs in the hundreds. I looked at one and then broke all of the rest to be sure. I did not want to take any chances on the computer, so I took it apart and took all the pieces out to a campground, broke them all with a sledgehammer, covered them with lighter fluid, twigs, and branches and lit it all on fire.
I made sure it was destroyed completely, spending several hours with the fire. It was both relieving and surreal what I was doing. I didn't know what else to do.
So, that's my story. I don't think about him much, but when I do, I am disgusted that he was my dad."
"When I was 18, I took my older brother's computer after he died in a car crash. He was the sort of guy that people loved to be around; always laughing, joking. He made people feel good about themselves.
His car ran into a grouping of those cement jersey barriers on a road under construction. No other cars were involved, and there were no signs that he had hit the brakes. He must have dozed off. While emptying his room in his house, we found a set of crumpled papers. They were the unfinished first sentences of 'after I die' notes. But he never left a completed note, and instead chose to throw these drafts away. Maybe he sat down to write a note, decided he didn't want to die, needed some air, went for a drive, got into an accident.
I couldn't understand how this happy, great guy that I loved could be so unhappy.
So I searched his computer for any clues. I was prepared to look in every corner for a clue, an internet history, an AIM log (this was back in the day), a photo, an email, anything. There was nothing. Not just nothing strange, nothing at all. He had already wiped his computer clean, probably anticipating that his little brother would inherit his computer and snoop around.
It still doesn't confirm or deny anything for me. I feel certain that he intended to kill himself. But I've never been more upset to find absolutely nothing."
"My mother-in-law recently died unexpectedly.
My husband was distraught and busy with funeral planning, so my sister and I undertook the huge job of sorting through her finances to start the process of closing all of her accounts.
As we were sorting through the bags and boxes of random paperwork, my sister found a USB drive. She popped it in and found a list of accounts (super helpful) and also a file with just my mother-in-law's name. It was a 62-page autobiography.
The autobiography spanned her whole life up to about seven years ago. I haven't read it and neither has my husband. The loss is just a little too fresh right now. My sister scanned through it and thought maybe my husband might not want to read it, as the last few pages are very 'trashy romance' style and sister suspected might just be fiction as she didn't think my mother-in-law was that racy.
She mentioned a few names and briefly described the love triangle situation. Oh no, that happened. It made my husband laugh when I mentioned it to him. I'm glad that's where she chose to end her story. It was before I came into the picture, but I think it might have been one of the happier times in her life."
"When my grandfather passed away, we were going through his computer to save important things. We mostly saved genealogy information but found one strange item.
My grandfather wrote a book/thesis on how much he hated my grandmother. It was about 150 pages long, had a table of contents, and all sorts of hate-filled stories and anecdotes.
My dad shared it with one of his brothers, and they waited about five years before showing it to my grandmother. I'm still not certain that she ever needed to know about that book. One of my family members printed it out and mailed it to all of my aunts and uncles. (My dad is one of seven). It was a drama fest for years. It seems to have died down lately though."
"A good friend of mine had a major stroke and went into a coma. The prognosis was not good and the family made plans accordingly. Since I was the one that knew about computers, they asked me to go through his stuff and find pictures for his memorial service.
Well, two laptops and 10 USB sticks later, I wanted to bleach out my eyes. My friend was a great guy but was bigger. Apparently, he had been renting out women and such from online forums. They were far from pretty, and thankfully my friend only appeared in a few pictures but had his clothes on.
Out of about 10gb worth of images, I was able to find five suitable for his memorial service.
The toughest part was telling his family that I could only salvage five photos. I told them the hard drives were corrupted. No sense in letting them know what I found.
On a positive note, I did adopt his parrot and until this day she keeps calling me by his name."
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