(when the unthinkable has just happened)
Yes, this death is unexpected and a shock:
Every parent expects to precede their children in death, now that your child has died, the natural order of things has been disrupted; and this can induce psychological trauma.
Feeling strange after your child dies:
You may feel "dazed" once your child dies. This "dazed" feeling is usually accompanied by disbelief, and you may feel that you will wake up from what has just happened. You may feel like the world has stopped moving. This feeling is a byproduct of how your mind catches up to your emotions and reality.
Your grief is unique:
There will be no other person that will experience grief the exact way that you are. Although grieving parents may have similar experiences with their journey, like a fingerprint; there are different characteristics in grief that makes each experience unique. Everyone's journey is different: some are short, some are long. Everyone experiences this journey their own way. There is no time limit on grief and no instructions; do not let any one try to tell you how to grieve.
The emotional roller coaster:
The loss of a child surfaces a lot of different emotions: Confusion, shock, forgetfulness, anger, calm, and numbness are just a few. Sometimes these emotions last for a few minutes, sometimes they last for a long time. Sometimes you may only experience one emotion, sometimes you may be feeling multiple emotions. These up and down feelings are all normal. If you feel that you are unable to control them or feel "consumed" by your grief, talking to a support group or counselor may help.
When you are feeling a multitude of emotions that are physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, it is normal to feel tired. Try to get some sleep. Although resting during this time may be hard, any rest you get will help. Also make sure that you eat every day; it is easy to forget about eating during this time.
Watch out for negative influences and comments:
There will be plenty of people that look at your situation and feel that they know the RIGHT thing to say. "You are holding up well", "You have other things to be thankful for", " You're young, you can have more", " Why don't you just let it go" are a few of the "helpful" things people say that makes them think that they are helping your situation. The best thing to do in this situation is to make your exposure to these people brief, and surround yourself with people that are supportive.
"Unless a person has walked in the bereaved victim's shoes,
he is unqualified to make an observation."
If you can, go through your child's things yourself. There is no rush to do it (unless you have another child in that room and it is hindering that child). What another person will think is garbage, may be a priceless treasure to you. Keep items of clothing to make blankets or stuffed animals. Purchase a chest to keep your child's special items in.
The burial of a child is something no parent should endure.