The benefits of breastmilk for the body (both mom's and baby's) are numerous and well-documentented, but the benefits for the soul are very often over-looked, but just as important.
I'm making plans to fly out for the funeral. Initially, I was planning to go alone, but now I'm planning to take TheBoy. At first, I leaned toward it because I don't want to risk him weaning while I'm gone. Then, I realized I probably need him there more than he needs me.
On the first anniversary of my brother's death, I had to enlist help just to get to shul for his yarzeit. I had to say Kaddish for him and well, yeah, that's not an option at home (although once the kids come of age, we'll have half a minyan right here within our own walls). I had twin babies, though, so getting to services was quite a job. My sister and the rabbi's wife sat in the lobby with my niece and Girl2. When it came time to say Kaddish, I stood there and recited it with Girl1 nursing in the sling.
I took great comfort from that. I was really moved by the sacred simplicity of the moment. There I was mourning the loss while I nourished the new.
I need that now.
TheBoy woke up in the night and called for me. While I nursed him, I couldn't stop thinking, "My aunt sat here like this with my cousin when he was a baby." I played with TheBoy's hair and breathed him in and I could picture her doing the same. Now they're both gone--my aunt and my cousin. That moment last night was so mundane, yet so powerful. I was just comforting my child--something millions of parents do every night. Yet it made me feel so connected not only to the child at my breast, but to my aunt long gone and my cousin so recently departed.
I fear the funeral. My cousin was such a spark. There was so much excitement behind his eyes. He was so very alive. Having the whole family together with his body boxed up before us will make us all even more painfully aware of the absence of his playfulness.
But then, I'm reminded of TheBoy running towards the bimah during children's Rosh Hashanah services. I couldn't keep him contained. He was so excited and wanted to be a part of everything. Everyone laughed. I don't think there was a single face that wasn't smiling at TheBoy as I took him out to the lobby.
I want my son there because that joi de vivre reminds me so much of my cousin. I think it's what the whole family needs right now.
He needs me to comfort and nourish him. I need him to remind me it's not all death and dying.