How Do You Find Safety in Grief?

When those we love have left this earth, we still can feel them near. We’ll see a picture, hear a song, and it’s just like they are here. And when we call upon our faith, when we believe and trust, we know the ones we care about are always close to us. Constance Parker Graham


I had a dream… the other night, not about world peace and living together in harmony but about safety. An issue more personal than world peace but our dreams are our individual connection to the universe and can be metaphorical, symbolic, problem solving, healing or prophetic. (Or they can be dream visits from our loved ones which can be another article…)

The Dream: It was “avalanche season” and I was fearful for my dogs. I had to make coats for them for their safety. I made coats that were Fahrenheit comfortable but not centigrade. (Remember this was a dream!) Regardless, I knew that it meant they would be safe from avalanches. This made me feel good knowing they would be safe; it was a major sense of relief.

The Reality: I live in a beautiful little vineyard strewn valley, where there is zero percent chance of avalanches ever occurring in my lifetime. But as Carl Jung said, “The dream shows the inner truth and reality of the patient as it really is: not as I conjecture it to be, and not as he would like it to be, but as it is.”      

I believe dreams can open our mind’s eye and provide us with an opportunity to acquire wisdom. It is my hope that others are receptive to noticing their dreams in order to gain an understanding of them.    

I noticed the similarity between this dream and the grief journey. (In general) As in our dreams, we tend to look for something that is metaphorical or symbolic for our safety in our grief. Some find it and some may not because every grief journey is individualized by the personality. 

Many people seek and many people find their coat of safety in their grief. Faith, religion, spirituality, reading, support group, therapy, journaling, refocusing energy and/or time (involvement in charities or starting organizations or a project) ...all of these are methods of finding an inner balance in our internal world after the death of a child or loved one. In our grief we lose that inner balance of peace and normalcy and attempt to find our old balance. When we realize we cannot recreate our old balance, we must create a new one. We have to find some safety measure that develops that new internal balance. 

My rescued dog, Joe, clearly exemplifies this need for safety. Continuing to suffer from occasional nightmares and other PTSD symptoms, he finds security in his little jacket.   

Grievers, too, maneuver through the grief process seeking something to provide safety in their journey in order to: 1. Create a balance to calm the tornado of inner feelings 2. Gain confidence and 3.  Gain the security to know that life can and will go on and be OK without their loved one.

Additionally, the coat of safety can also be found in recognizing and knowing that your loved one is still with you. Your knowing can be your coat to inner balance and safety in your grief. My son Zac has made it quite clear that “anyone can have an easier path of grieving if they listen to their loved ones because they are right there trying to help them. If you just feel like they are there, that is what is! Trust it! (Zac 7-31-01)  Trust that that is what is….as Zac said in a conversation on 5-21-07 “Live What Is!”

I hope you find your coat of safety, Chris

P.S. If you have found your safety or if you have questions or other comments, please feel free to share...


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About the Author
Chris Mulligan’s son's death challenged her 25 years experience as an adoption social worker, her MS in Clinical Child, Youth and Family Work and her beliefs and values. Their continuing relationship and ongoing communication changed her and introduced her to a new life of gifts, gratitude and growth. Her book, Afterlife Agreements: A Gift From Beyond details these changes and the development of this new relationship. Since Zac's October 2000 death, she has documented over 11 years of communication with him and other spirits on the other side. Her website is: and and her monthly newsletter is "Living Differently."
I'm Grieving, Now What?