24 People Reveal The Most Heartbreaking Thing They Found On A Dead Person’s Computer

There’s nothing more heartbreaking (and possibly life-changing) than looking through a recently deceased person’s personal belongings. Their life is before you, laid out. You go through it, you begin to understand them a little bit better, then you find something that changes how you had once viewed them. Found on AskReddit.

1. A list

A few months after my wife passed away suddenly, I finally got around to cleaning out her PC and laptop. I’d barely gotten started when I came across a file that had it’s file associations removed. She did all the financial stuff, so I had to find out if it was something important. Of course my first try was word document, and sure enough it loaded up.

Yeah, it wasn’t financial. Turns out she’d written a list of lifetime goals that she wanted to reach, and it had been updated only weeks before she passed. A list of about 30 things she’d dreamed of doing, and only about 4 or 5 were crossed off.

I didn’t get much done after that.

2. A bucket list

I found my cousin’s bucket list in a notepad file. He died in a car traffic accident two years ago, I still got that file and gives me creeps every time I read it :(

He really loved America, so sad he didn’t even have the chance to visit US before he die.

Here is his bucket list translated from Greek to English.

3. Speeches and notes

When my grandfather passed away I was asked to go through his computer and save anything valuable. There were heaps of letters and photos dedicated to all his children and grandchildren. I even found a speech he would say at my 21st. I’m only 18.

4. On the Wii

My mum’s Mii is still on my Wii (and now on the Wii U and my 3DS). Whenever I come jogging past on Wii fit she cheers for me. It makes me happy every time.

5. On the Xbox

A friend of mine on xbox live committed suicide when I was about 13, he was older though, late teens. He was gay and was brought up extremely christian in the deep south, he ended his life due to some deep depression he was suffering. He played Xbox daily, he changed his bio to just “I’m sorry.” A mutual friend told me about him. He signed on a few months ago, turns out it was his parents accidentally turning on the Xbox when clearing out his room. Freaked me out real bad and brought on some feels.

6. On a USB

A couple of spring breaks ago I found a nice little USB bracelet with the University of Hawaii logo on it in the middle of a sidewalk in Maui. I took it back home to the continental US where it has sat on my mirror shelf for two years. During a period of procrastination sometime probably a month ago, I plugged it in just for the hell of it. It had all this Harry Potter music and some waltz music along with some college papers and other things. So for the next two hours I listened to this person’s music and just relaxed. I later decided to try to find who it was. I opened a few more documents. One was a disability form from the university saying how his financial aid had been sent or something like that. I looked up his name on google and found that he had died a month and a half after he dropped that USB drive for me to eventually find.

Finding out that I had just listened to and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful composition of a man who was no longer living made me reflect on how intertwined our impact in this world is as I bawled my eyes out and rocked myself back and forth. Needless to say, the paper that was due the next day was entirely forgotten.

7. In a giant box

Oh god, this reminds me of what I found after my dad died. He had his woodworking shop in my garage and after he passed, I went to start cleaning it out before my mom could get to it just so I had first dibs on anything of his that I wanted to keep. Holy crap, it’s s good thing I did too, cause I found a massive box of porn hidden behind a bunch of lumber. It shocked me because my dad had been a sweet old man who looked like Gepetto and never, ever in a million years would I have guessed that he was a fan of interracial gangbangs and facials.

My mom is real old-fashioned and I knew she’d have been absolutely devastated to know that he did watch porn but just hid it from her. I gave the whole box to my male best friend and thoroughly scoured the garage for anything else that might have been less than Kosher. I like to think that I’m a good daughter, damnit.

8. Some pictures

Good friend of mine had a major stroke and went into a coma, prognosis was not good and the family made plans. Since I was the one that knew about computers they asked me to go through his stuff and find pictures for his memorial service.

2 laptops and 10 usb sticks later I wanted to bleach out my eyes. My friend was a great guy, but he was morbidly obese. Apparently he had been renting out escorts 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 5 suitable for his memorial service.

The toughest part was telling his family that I could only salvage 5 photos. I told them the hard drives were corrupted (yep, I wiped them). No sense in letting them know what I found.

On a positive note, I did adopt his parrot and till this day she keeps calling me by his name.

9. A once-cluttered desktop

My best friend’s machine, the usually cluttered desktop given way to a single, untitled text document. It was his suicide note.

10. A movie

My father died a few years ago from colon cancer. Even though I was only 19, my brother was significantly younger when we lost him (he was 7).

My father and brother would watch a movie usually every other night, and a few months ago I finally got around to cleaning up his computer. I looked through his folder where he downloaded movies to, and the last film he downloaded was Spirited Away. And it was the night before he passed away.

Needless to say, we watched it together that night.

11. The search history

His search history. My step-brother was on trial for soliciting a minor, but didn’t show up on the court date. The entire family went looking, and when we checked his computer, there were searches for how to commit suicide using charcoal grills, and directions to an old radio tower. When we got there he was already dead. It would have probably been better for his parents to think he was just on the run, rather than dead by his own hand.

12. On these hallowed computers

No, but I got an old computer from church once. They upgraded and donated it to us.

It was filled with horse porn.

I don’t go to that church anymore.

13. A happy mask

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 had run 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 suicide 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.

14. On FIFA

My boyfriend passed away in December, I put his play station on and play with the little FIFA character we made look like him, I know he would be laughing at how bad I was trying to score.

I also saw his old phone, there was a message from a girl basically asking to go on a date but he had text her back saying he was actually in a new relationship (me!) and it made me feel quite good! I trusted him completely anyway. I miss him every second.

15. A poem

No. Wish I’d found more. It was my daughter’s computer and I found photos and poems that I’d never seen before. I used one line from one poem on her headstone.

16. A lot of the same

My boss passed away in his sleep just over a year ago. He was young, and it was unexpected.

I helped his boss get into his computer at work, and also his laptop from home to retrieve insurance, banking, investment, etc. information for my boss’s family.

It was very eerie, in that I found my boss had a lot of the same tastes in music, tv shows, movies, etc. that I had, visited the same websites, etc. I felt like he and I could have become much better friends if there’d been more time.

I ended up getting almost everything for them. There were a couple of excel files with financials that were password protected. I ran some brute force programs against them for a few weeks, but eventually my boss had me shut it down, and then it was over.

And so now I sit at his desk, on his computer, using his mouse, and his keyboard, and do his job. I like to think he’s out there, somewhere, watching over me, and that he’d be happy with what I’ve done in the last year. I hope so, at any rate.

17. On the cellphone

Well, it’s my cousin and it’s on a smart phone. The nurses at the hospital gave my cousin his dad’s belongings when his dad passed away, and it included his cell phone. That’s how he found out his dad’s a cheating bastard and a drug addict.

He talked to me about it, and I had to confess I knew about it, but I didn’t want to tell him about it unless he asked me since I didn’t want to ruin his image of his dad. He decided not to tell his mom to leave her with great memories. She never knew since her husband was always “busy” and going on “business trips”.

18. On Pokemon

My girlfriend and I used to play pokemon a lot. I still do actually.. But she passed away in a car accident a year ago. One day I opened one of her games up cause I was feeling down, and I noticed her main player was named after me, and all her pokemon were nicknamed after pet names we gave to eachother. The thing is, I did the exact same thing in my game, but we never told eachother.

19. From GameStop

I bought a secondhand handheld gaming system from GameStop.

Checked the memory card quite some time after I bought it, it was full of porn and “photoshopped” photos of what I assume was the previous owner doing stuff to animated/cartoon girls and one specific real girl (Love is beautiful isn’t it?). I was somewhat disgusted, and for some reason I looked up the owner. He was dead, and now I’m both disgusted and sad. And don’t know what to do with it.

20. A letter

My mother went on my older sister computer after she died from cancer and found a letter meant for my sisters 2 children which said how horrible my mother was. My sister was pretty angry at life in the final months and seemed to blame my mom for everything. Needless to say, my mom was devastated.

21. A photo

Opened it and the background was a family photo. Couldn’t go any further.

22. On the computer

My moms computer. Tons and tons of dark images and notes spawned from a depressed and artistically gifted person.

Found a ms paint drawing of a tombstone with her name and it, her birth year, and 2012 (a year prior to when I found it).

23. A list of recipes

I was on my sister-in-law’s computer the day after she passed away at home from breast cancer. I was helping her mother figure out which documents were the latest versions since my SIL had planned her whole wake, funeral, etc. in advance while she still could. While looking for what I needed, I found recipes that she had saved so I sent them to myself. I didn’t find anything that I wish I hadn’t. Cooking was something we both loved so it will be nice to prepare those dishes and keep a piece of her alive.

24. A new perspective

Coworker came up to me and asked if I knew how to get into a locked computer. Showed me a computer and said that the owner killed himself and his parents would like to get into it. About two hours later I figured out how to hack into it and change the password without logging in. Vale, access to his computer. Right away I saw the face of the kid who had taken his life. A picture of himself was the background. After cranking away at this computer forever I figured why not look through the files. I didn’t know the kid (or his parents) and it wouldn’t hurt anyone to look. I looked through his files and found pictures of his girlfriend. I couldn’t help but have this strange deja vu-like feeling. It was extremely surreal. Almost as if he was actually looking at me or as if I saw a part of my old self in this kid. I have been suicidal for years now and I just thought “What if this was my computer that someone had to unlock?” It doesn’t sound like much of an internal catharsis but it struck a chord in me. Sorry I didn’t find any interesting files, but I did find a new viewpoint on life. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Read this story of loss–and learning to live life after.


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