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.”

“Wow, really?”

“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.

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