Artwork in California1
Photo of Artwork in California (Miranda Hernandez)

Instead of leaking milk, I leak tears. I cry until it seems my reservoir is empty, but the simplest combination of words fills it up again.

I say your name. That part is easy. I will forever love the sound of your name, the feel of it in my voice. What I can’t say is what happened to you. I start to speak, and the words are locked in my throat. It’s hard to breathe. I choke it out, run out of sobs, and I finally understand what it means to keen.

I cry so long, I think I can’t cry anymore. I imagine I am out of tears. I am wrong.

There are other times. I read, sometimes. I watch tv. I can even laugh, respond to jokes. Sometimes I go hours without thinking of you at all. I think this is how I hide. I shop, fully aware I am spending money instead of drinking. I plan things. I try to get ready for life to go on.

I’m still pumping milk. I thought I might quit, but I decided against it. It makes me feel useful. It gets me out of bed.

I do things. I run errands. I picked up your ashes. I took a walk one day. It was hard.

Someone left a cross on my porch today. It was comforting. It will go in your box.

None of this is how I planned. None of it makes sense, but it’s becoming real. I am a mother. I have a son. My son is dead. I want to draw a line through that last sentence. I want to so much that I know I can’t.

I love you, my little man. My son. I love you with everything I have in me, with things I didn’t know I had. I love you, and I miss you, and I say to you — you are worth all the tears.