Dreams of the Deceased: a Message from the ‘Other Side’ or a Trick of the Subconscious Mind?

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dreams of the deceased

What do the dreams of the deceased mean? Are they actually messages from the spirit world or just a product of our subconsciousness?

Two years ago, something terrible happened in our family – my grandfather had a stroke. He fell into a coma and eventually died two days later. This profoundly shocked all of us not only because grandpa was deeply loved and respected by everybody who had the luck to know him but also because we couldn’t imagine that he would go so early and so suddenly.

Shortly after this tragic event, I started to have weird dreams. I was seeing myself visiting my grandpa at his home and feeling quite confused – I was simultaneously glad that he was there again and puzzled trying to understand how it was possible. In my dreams, he never said a word and replied to my questions about him being there with an enigmatic smile.

My view of what happens after death

These dreams were so regular that I began to wonder whether this might be my grandpa’s soul trying to communicate. If I was a religious person, I would certainly believe that it was so. But I don’t really agree with the views on soul and afterlife as promoted by most of the world religions. I tend to think that human consciousness – everything that makes us who we are, including our thoughts, memories and beliefs – is a kind of energy that leaves the body at the moment of death and gets dispersed in the surrounding environment. This basically means that a person’s energy can exist literally everywhere for some time after death and eventually finds itself becoming part of another, newborn creature.

You may think that this sounds quite similar to the known theory of reincarnation; however, the difference is that, in my opinion, it’s not the same soul that makes its journey through ages, traveling from one body to another, but rather a composition of different people’s energies that carries the experiences of multiple lives and individuals. Moreover, I believe that it’s not only human energy that makes up each person’s consciousness but that all living beings on our planet participate in this eternal cycle of energy exchange. That’s why after death, a person’s soul returns to its starting point and becomes part of the environment again in order to reborn in a new body, saturated by the energies of the Mother Earth and other living creatures.

But let’s go back to the dreams of the deceased.

I wondered whether my grandfather was trying to send me a message or at least to say that he was fine and happy wherever he was. I supposed that shortly after death, a soul might be in an intermediate state, unable to have the same strong bond with its body and the material world as before but capable of interacting with the living ones. Those who happen to have lost someone will agree that it’s much more comforting to think that your dear one continues to exist somewhere else, far from here, than to think that they have gone forever.

Analysis of the dreams of the deceased

However, after some time, when I began to get used to the fact of my grandpa’s death, I got a chance to look at those dreams in a more rational way. I realized that there was the same pattern in all of them – my grandpa being silent and me having confused feelings. Yes, unfortunately, it was purely the work of the subconscious mind and had nothing to do with the afterlife. During the last years of my grandfather’s life, I didn’t visit him often and thus found it even more difficult to accept his death than those who were next to him till his last minute. I refused to believe that the next time I would visit my grandparents’ home, my grandpa wouldn’t be there, and my subconscious mind was trying to show me this confrontation between my expectations (grandfather being there) and the reality (my confusion).

So, if you have recurring dreams of the deceased too, first of all, analyze the content of your dreams and try to find similar patterns in events, surroundings and your feelings. I know that the idea that your deceased friend or family member is trying to communicate with you may be exciting, but in most cases, it’s the work of your subconscious and not a message from the other side. It is always hard to accept a less attractive truth, especially in the beginning when the pain of loss is still intense, but it’s necessary to let go of the past and find the courage to go on.

If you have had a similar experience, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.

Copyright © 2018 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.


  1. Anitha November 25, 2017 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Hi I dreamt of my son who committed suicide 7 years ago, we at s home with his dad sisters, I see my son arrive, I call out to him, he’s ecstatic at seeing me, hugs me, he then has some flower petals, say its for the funeral of the guy he works for, as he turns to go, one side of his face is injured, I ask and he tells me he got hurt st work, but I Dnt believe him. He’s busy working with wood, then some how I see my late mum, she does not say much, but asks me to get flowers for my son,’s boss for the funeral, I see my sister in laws acting indifferently towards me, I’m hurt at their behaviour, they are eating potato savouries, offer everyone else but me. I’m hurt, but leave to go get the flowers, I ask an ex landlady of my parents if I can break flowers from her garden, she agrees asks who passed away, I lie to her and tell her my parents best friends husband. I feel ashamed it !y dream for lying. I start braking the flowers, pretty pale colors, then the white one I break only petals, I get the flowers and take them to give to the family of my son’s boss, I had it to a young white boys. I get back home and see my husbands sisters talking behind my back, I feel deep pain as I loved them as sisters in now in reality. My sleep breaks.

    • Sky December 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing.

  2. Aaron December 8, 2017 at 3:03 am - Reply

    11 years after my grandfather who I was with every day and loved to death died. I was 17 at the time anyways I wasn’t happy about it i wasn’t ready for him to go as he fell ill very quick. Bothered me a lot for a few years until the dreams started. I’m not religious and don’t believe in life after desth. After the first dream like you said I was very very confused. In the dream I know he’s there but I can’t see him and I always ask him what are you doing back here but I get no reply. as if I know he’s not supposed to be in my dream. But when I wake up I always feel very happy for days just thinking about him. Had one last week.bored in bed came across this happy dreams everyone. Ps and out of all the people I know who have died it’s only him I dream of.

  3. Denise December 11, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I often dream of my first husband. I had not seen my first husband in twenty years before he passed away. Yet I dream about him at least once a week. He’s walking away and I’m chasing him saying wait don’t go I love you. He stops and says I loved you for always. And the I wake up.

    • Ali January 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      My dad, who committed sucicide about 5 or 6 years ago just visited me in my dream. Every once in a while he does. Some people say it might be sad to see him but in reality it’s the best feeling you can encounter. To this day I still cry about him and, in fact, I’m crying right now. I can not tell you the pain I felt when he died, I have two sisters and my mom was devastated. A lot of people think suicide is a selfish act but when it actually happens to you, you know it was not at all that. One time I saw him in my dream and and I thought he was still alive but then I looked at my step dad. I want to know how to visit him more and I still feel that I can keep a connection with him even if he is deceased. I hope I never have to experience that pain again, especially at age 5.

  4. Jeani January 13, 2018 at 2:21 am - Reply

    I’m scared really scared the same dream of my mother who passed 2003. I’m always driving and the the road become really narrow and we are going to fall off into a cliff or something the road is now big rocks. I can’t take it it’s occuring almost every night or it a bridge over water but it always the same in a way. Like I said I’m scared

  5. Teri January 13, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    My husband passed away 4/2/12. Now I’m getting dreams that he’s alive and our life is “back”. We talk, interact, everything as usual – but only within our walls. The outside world in never in play but within the dreams I realize & know that in the outside arena – he is still dead & gone to everyone else. So I’m confused. In my last dream I tried to discuss this with him. About him being alive again but only with our world that know one else knows or would understand. The dreams are never scary, always enjoyable but a sad retminder of his death upon waking.

  6. Michelle Krohn January 26, 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Michelle January 29, 2018
    My sweetheart (husband) passed away 2 years ago. Lately I dream of him being in familiar places like in Florida, or travelling. He appears to be very young and life is as it was many years ago. They are not scary dreams, because .I have no regrets.We were happily married for 58 years. We vowed to love each other into eternity; even on the last day he said: I love you so. I wish I could be with him and I am hoping the dreams are a sign that I can join him soon.

  7. Luann January 30, 2018 at 11:32 am - Reply

    My deceased husband visits me often in my dreams. Trying to decipher it is maddening.
    We knew I would have to sell our house upon his death. I moved to another state to be near children.
    I used most of the money to relocate and purchase another home. In this reoccurring dream it is always the same. He comes back, there was a mix up and he was presumed dead. He wants to know in a demanding way… where’s the money from the sale of the house, he wants it now.. he wants all his stuff and he is an angry person I never experienced. I’m panicked because I can’t cough up the money! It is not a good dream but it is always the same. I never sleep anymore for fear I’ll have this same disturbing nightmare. Guidance please!!!

  8. Marilynn February 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    I had a dream last night,that I was setting in a large living room and talking to several friends and relatives and we were just talking and I finally realized these people all was dead. This bothers me a lot.


  9. lisa hayes February 15, 2018 at 12:03 am - Reply

    I had an amazing dream about my parents about a year after they died. My parents died 10 days apart and I had no living siblings. I was with my mom as she passed. I played her favorite hymns during the last hours of her time on earth. She tried to sing along but all she could do was make sounds. It was a beautiful sendoff. However, I was not in the room with my father when he died. I was asleep in another bedroom. It has always bothered me knowing he was alone when he died.
    Here is my dream. My parents are living in a beautiful home inside and out. The home was very spacious and they had a lot of people taking care of them, the house, and the grounds.
    My father was always quite about his faith and when asked if he was saved he would say “that is personal.” But in my dream I was able to ask him one last time if he was saved. He did not speak the words instead it was like two minds speaking to each other. In my dream my father told me he was saved.
    I can’t tell you how peaceful I felt after my dream. I believe the beautiful house and land represented Heaven. The people who were taking care of my parents were either their guardian angels or other loved ones who had passed on. The dream gave me great peace and comfort.
    This has not been the only dream about loved ones who had passed on. Some have been warnings of events which had not happened and for telling of my pregnancy.

  10. Christie Robinson February 19, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I have had a dream about my son who passed 10years ago due to an accidental overdose,in my dreams he is in the hospital about to have surgery on his heart ,can anyone tell me what this means

  11. Lex February 26, 2018 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I had a good friend die this past week. He committed suicide and since I found out I hve been dreaming that I am in the woods with him standing in the distant watching without him realizing him doing this awful thing. I have never been in the woods where he did it nor did I find him but every night now he is in my dreams and I have to watch that horrific thing happen over and over again

  12. Al March 12, 2018 at 1:36 am - Reply

    I had a dream about a dead friend who gave me life changing advice and I became wealthy,I attribute my success to the clue to my destiny I received from my beloved fiends career path advice…..thanks chuck.rip…..in the dream he told me I was wasting my talent working for someone else.months later I got my own shop and now employ over 30 employees and my shop makes about $10,000 a week.if not for this advice I would be back being poor.making money for someone else.if I could have my friend back I ould gladly be poor again.

  13. Sheila April 3, 2018 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Within a year after my son passed away at 27 in a motorcycle accident (2011) I had a dream, he came to me wearing a silly winter hat, smiling and telling me where he has traveled and that he even snow skied on the alps. He was speaking different languages but I understood him. He was so happy. Since then he has come to me in 2 dreams briefly just to wave at me through a window. One, I recall, he was on a road grater type tractor. My son loved life and if there was an opportunity to go somewhere & try something new he was there. He was also always willing to help someone, even if he didn’t know you. I think it is his way of telling me he is truly happy and getting to do things that he loves.

  14. Jessie Blucher April 5, 2018 at 8:21 am - Reply

    I dreamt last night that my brothers and mom somehow brought my father back to life after 21 years of passing just to surprise me. When my father and I make eye contact I can see him holding back his tears. I’m a mess, the moment i see my dad standing there right before me, but when my 4 kids come out of the house, and the moment he sees them he breaks down crying. He and I have a long hug crying and he is really sobbing hugging each one of my kids. He spoke to me but his voice wasn’t really his, didn’t sound like how I remember… He tells me he loves me and his grandkids are so big and beautiful. While im crying I’m crying in real life. I know its a dream and i try to see what happenes next, but right away my dream shifts into another dream completely unrelated. This is the 3rd dream I had since he passed away.

  15. breefuls (Aubrey) April 22, 2018 at 9:11 am - Reply

    When I was 22yrs old (now going to be 30yrs old in a month), my ex passed away. We had been together from the age of 13yrs always til I was 3months away from turning 21. I moved in with him and his dad when I was 16, they saved me from a life of everyday abuse. When we broke up, we stayed best friends even though I moved out, and spent tons of time together. Before his death, I had visited his house, but didn’t get to see him, as he wasn’t feeling well. I talked to his best friend (also one of my closest friends from childhood), and left calling upstairs to him that I would see him in a few days, he called back to me a goodbye. That was the last time I saw him. He was in a coma 2 days later, 3 days after that we were told he was brain dead. I spent everyday going to the hospital to play his favorite music, and his dad and I made the decision together to pull the plug on 3-3-11, as he would have liked the numbers (3 has always been my favorite, he liked 12 and repeating numbers). I made a playlist with his iPod 8hrs long of all his music, as people came in to say goodbye. After 5hrs of music and goodbyes, his dad and I followed him to the operation prep, and were the last ones to say good by. We threw his ashes out his sunroof to his favorite song, on one of our favorite roads, going 120mph, on 3-12-11. He would have loved the freedom, the speed, the music, and everyone who was in the vehicle loved him. Since then, I spent the first 4yrs having dreams where he was near me, but I could never get to him. Like in the house or to a place I was always trying to get to. Then I found him in year 5. At first, he didn’t talk, just smiled or looked confused as I sobbed into him, going on about missing him, never wanting to leave his side again. Then about a year and a half ago, he began to talk. “Oh bree bree,” his nickname for me. He would comfort me, and began to nod or shake his head to questions. Now he says a little more when I find him. We’ll talk about good times, I’ll verbally throw up everything that’s he’s missed in music/comedy/shows/things he would love if he were here today. I still love dreams where u see him, the comfort is immeasurable. Both of us being atheists, life after death isn’t something we cared to believe we could sum up. There are traits that I have that remind me of him, from us growing up together, and I would like to think that though his energy has technically moved on, a part of him will always be here. It’s silly, and I don’t care nor know if it’s true. But that’s life, and those dreams, I hope I find him every once in a while forever. He’s always the same age, he had told me when we were only 19, something told him he wouldn’t make it past 22. He’ll be that age forever in my dreams and mind. I hope we meet again, even if I find him in someone else someday or in the next life.

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