None of us live forever, but your time had begun running out. I knew this, intellectually. But it had never hit me just how finite our lifespans are. There, blanketed by the darkness, I held you and sobbed. When the salt dried against my cheeks, I prayed to God to let me die before you, though I had never felt more alive, or wanted so desperately to live a long life, in order to watch and marvel as yours unfolded.
I changed your diapers. One day, you might end up changing mine, I thought, cringing. Not quite the future I envisioned for you as you toddled off to play with your imaginary pet dragon.
I once told you there was no point in worrying about the things that may or may not happen. We have choices: live until those things come to pass, experiencing all the joy life brings our way; or, study, plan, work, and change the future. I tried to make myself believe the old lie. You had already done so much – winning the Nobel Peace Prize for solving the world’s food and energy crises, making war obsolete, in 2025. Watching you build a life, I worried that all the plans I’d put into place to protect you would never be enough to head off what was coming. But I wouldn’t tell you that. I wouldn’t tell you what was coming. I wouldn’t mention the Orion Institute. That worry was mine, and mine alone.
As my grandson built a starship out of Legos, I returned to studying astrophysics. Time was running out. Death, in the form of a cold remnant of a dead star, was coming.
This story has been brought to you by Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge (wordpress.com) and the words Birth, Death, Live, Die, Diaper, Blanket, Alive, Dead, Lifespan, Plan.
Helpful Writing Resources