Author : Gary Bremer
I awoke with a start from a dream that I’d already forgotten. Groggily registering that it was sobbing from my six year-old son’s room that woke me, I quickly glanced at my phone sitting on my bedside table. 2:41 a.m.
Shuffling quickly down the short hallway to find out why he was crying, I stumbled over our cat…unseen and lying in the center of the hall, curious at the commotion this early in the morning. She gave a slight hiss as she disappeared just as quickly as she’d seemed to appear underfoot, annoyed that I couldn’t see in the dark as easily as she could.
I found him sitting up in his bed, slouched forward and quietly crying into his hands. I sniffed my nose loudly to announce my presence and not startle him. Sitting next to him in bed, I pulled his head into my chest.
“Did you have a bad dream?”
He continued to cry, and I had to repeat myself.
He replied, “Noooo.” Some sniffles. He wiped his eyes a bit.
“Why are you upset, then?”
“I’m afraid, because I know one day I’ll die, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”
“My little man, you don’t have to worry about that! You have your whole lifetime ahead of you. Also…”
He looked up at me.
I continued, “…scientists are making more and more progress with technology all the time. You know, they say the first person to live forever has already been born”
I could see a palpable change in his eyes. “What do you mean, Daddy?”
“Well, they say that one day we’ll be able to upload our brains into a computer, so we will be able to live forever…only having to replace parts as they wear out.”
“Really, really. Does that make you feel better sweetie?”
He smiled slightly. “Yes Daddy, thank you. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
I tucked the covers around his shoulders as he settled back into bed, and kissed him on the forehead. I whispered, “Get some sleep.”
The cat was nowhere to be seen on the walk back to my bedroom.
Before falling asleep, I recalled my own existential crisis in my youth. In order to comfort me, my father had told me how I had nothing to worry about dying, as I’d be able to live forever in Heaven.
I started quietly sobbing to myself, as I realized my son would probably be making up his own narrative for his son 30 years in the future, just as I did tonight, and as my father did for me.
Lies. All lies.