What does it mean when you dream of someone who’s passed away? When someone we love dies, it’s not uncommon for them to visit in dreams. In this article we’ll discuss different reasons you may be dreaming of a deceased loved one, how to understand the dreams you’re having, and how to approach them in the future.

Reasons you may be dreaming of a deceased loved one

There are so many reasons a loved one might visit in a dream, and the most important one is to remind you that the connection is not broken and that they are still with you. We’ve heard so many reports from people who’ve experienced a loss, and had their loved one appear in a dream seemingly just to spend time with them. This is totally normal! Our loved ones still want to visit and check in on us even after they’ve departed physically. It’s usually easier for your deceased loved one to “make contact” when you’re sleeping, because your conscious mind would otherwise reject the possibility of spending time with someone who has died.

 

After my brother passed away, I started to experience frequent contact with him in dreams. Most of the time we just hung out the way we used to, and that seems to be a common theme. In dreams where he’s visiting and the rest of my family is there, it’s often as if we’re the only two that are “in on it”, knowing that he’s passed, and the goal is to act “normal” so that the family can have a joyful, calm experience with him.

 

In one dream very early on after my brother died, I entered the dream to find myself standing in my living room, with my brother standing right in front of me. He looked like he was glowing from within. I knew he had passed and that I was dreaming, but I’ve learned how to keep my mind calm during these visits so that I don’t wake myself up. I wept and hugged him and asked Was he okay? Was God taking care of him? He said yes as the inner light shining from him seemed to grow brighter. I distinctly remember so clearly how happy he seemed and how truly alive he looked. He was letting me know that he was happy, healthy and very much alive in spirit. 

 

We spent the rest of the afternoon in my dream hanging out, eating pizza and watching cartoons together, which was a pretty typical day off for us. When I sensed that the dream would be ending soon and I’d be waking up, I knew it was time for him to go. I began to cry again and asked if I would see him again. He nodded enthusiastically, smiled, and told me he would be back.

Then I woke up.

Other times when you’re dreaming of a deceased loved one, the dialogue might be more prescriptive, or possibly contain messages about things to come. Another man had a deceased loved one appear in a dream telling him that everything was going to be okay at work where he’d been very stressed for months on end. He was cautiously optimistic knowing that things seemed to be going pretty badly but also knowing that his loved one wouldn’t lie to him. It was a message in stark contrast to what his own mind had been playing on repeat, so he felt confident it wasn’t just his inner desires manifesting in a dream. He trusted that it was truly a visitation with an accurate message to deliver. Sure enough, things radically turned around at work shortly thereafter.

How to understand the dreams you’re having

You might have a dream of a deceased loved one but wake up feeling confused about the meaning of the visit, or if there was a hidden message you missed. Take some time to write down everything you remember, ideally as soon as you wake up if possible. I keep a notebook by my bed to jot down notes if I plan to go back to sleep, so I make sure I don’t lose anything that came through. If I’m traveling, I’ll jot a quick note in my phone before going back to sleep.

Once you’ve written down everything you can remember, reread it, try to feel the experience again consciously and notice what comes up. If the dream was more symbolic, you’ll have to do some digging into your own life to connect the pieces.

For example, one woman had a dream where her departed loved one wasn’t actually there visually, but she sensed that the dream she was having was somehow connected to something her loved one wanted to tell her. In the dream she and another family member were out in the ocean when a huge tidal wave appeared on the horizon. As the wall of water approached the two of them, she realized there was no way they would survive if they tried to outrun it – it would crash down on them and destroy them. They had to dive underneath and resurface on the other side. She quickly relayed this to her relative in the dream and they both took a deep breath and dove into the base of the wave. When she reflected on the dream after waking, she recognized it was a metaphor for the seemingly impossible wall of grief their family was facing, and the message was to go through it and not try to outrun it. When she shared this dream with the rest of her family, the person that she’d been with in the dream shared that he had had a very similar dream of trying to outrun the wave and knowing that he couldn’t.

The way out is always through.

You are the expert of your own life, but when we’re grieving it’s very tempting to shut off emotions and ignore as much as possible about the world around us. To fully understand the messages you may be receiving from your departed loved one in dreams, you must commit to feeling everything in your body, accepting it, and reflecting on how the recurring themes of your dreams are trying to help you navigate your waking life.

How to approach future dream visitations from deceased loved ones

The best way to approach future dream visitations is to be fully open to the experience, and document as much as possible so that you get the most out of it. If you’re dreaming of a deceased loved one, it’s a gift to be treasured.

Before going to sleep at night, I will usually say a quick prayer asking for guidance in my dreams and messages that are for my highest benefit, that I will remember on waking. I ask for a feeling of safety and protection no matter what is coming in my dreams (because we all know dreams aren’t always blissful, but they don’t have to continue to haunt us on waking).

If you want to start dreaming of a deceased loved one, I’d invite you to do the same – whoever you feel most comfortable reaching out to, whether it’s God, the Universe, your guardian angel, your departed loved ones – and let them know that you’re ready and willing to connect in your dreams, and look forward to hearing from them. Thank them in advance for the messages they want to share, in the timing that they know is best. 

It’s not a guarantee that you’ll definitely have a profound dream every single night, but you’ll set the expectation for yourself and your spiritual support system that you’re open to receiving and acting on any guidance that wants to come through. And if you just want your loved one to stop by and say hi, that’s okay to ask for too! They love you and are still supporting you, and want you to know that you deserve these experiences and have the capacity already within you to receive them.

December 10th at 7pm EST:Navigating Holiday Grief Workshop

Join Certified Grief Coach and founder of Umoya Institute, Emily Shutt, for a FREE live group coaching session on Navigating Holiday Grief. RSVP now and join us live on Thursday, December 10th @ 7pm EST (4pm PST) or catch the replay via email if you can't join live.

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