Shelley Widhalm

On Losing My Journal

In Journaling, Journaling Emotions, Losing Things on May 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

In the wake of what has been the worst year of my life, I lost my journal.

My first thought was why? Why would Life, with a capital “L,” waste all of my experiences that I carefully captured in daily writing by erasing the file? I’ve been planning to turn those experiences into a novel, and so I became more detailed in my journaling in the past few months.

When the file went blank, I called my brother, who works in tech support, and he tried to retrieve the file. I called my mother, and I cried, mourning the loss of what I’d written, because even if I try to recapture the memories, it won’t be the same as the first time I wrote about what happened day by day.

I debated, as I awaited my brother to work his magic, if I wanted to go through my planner, my texts and my Facebook messages to try to recapture what had happened from December 2014 to April 2015, the months I lost from my journal (and hadn’t backed up). Or should I just leave it blank and go on?

I still am not sure.

Because I journal daily, I started a new journal and lamented in my entry for the day, May 1 and the day after my birthday, the loss of my journal. My mother hesitated as she started to say, “Maybe losing your journal is a way for you to write about your experiences in a new way from a different perspective.”

One of my friends said something similar. “Maybe writing about losing the file, and reflecting on what you’d written (and the nature of loss) might result in seeing the events of these last few months in new and interesting ways.”

I think they may be right, even though it is hard to accept.

Losing my work may become a way to process what happened, write about it and recall it from the vantage point of having lost and moving on. It may then represent an interesting five-month gap of decades of journaling, something I’ve done since I was in second grade. The words may be lost, but the question becomes what will I find?

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  1. That’s not nice, you poor thing, hope you find someway of retrieving your ideas 🙂

  2. Thank you! It’s odd but losing the journal made the memories come forward. I’m not taking it so hard now. Thanks!

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