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.

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  1. Bob Menz March 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    About two weeks ago my former employer of 21 years passed away suddenly. I was able to visit him the day before he passed giving me comfort as well as him. Recently he has been in my dreams. I am visiting his family in my dream and he appears each time I visit but only visible to me. His family asks me questions for him and he replies only to me. I’m not sure why he is visible to only me and not his family. I would think it the other way around. Regardless I am grateful he visits me in my dreams.

    • Jasmine Williams August 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm - Reply

      So maybe a couple of weeks ago I was visited by a Ex who had recently passed away a couple of months before. I am married but I did keep in contact with my ex because we grew up together an we were very close an we had always had feelings we were just very young when we got together. Now don’t get me wrong I love my husband with all my heart. I just miss having my friend an that communication. In the dream he came to me in I can’t remember anything he said but it was night time an we were riding in the car an we were happy & I also was at a family reunion with him an his kids an everyone was happy but I just remember what he said…It’s driving me crazy!!!

  2. Christina March 9, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream about my grandma who had passed away more than 5 years ago. I hadn’t often dreamed of her, that I can remember. She was sitting at the kitchen table beside the sliding glass door of my current house. (I was living in a different house with her when she passed) She seemed so much like herself. Everything felt so real. I told her that I couldn’t believe she was here. I asked her where she had been. She said that she was in a good and happy place. I asked her if it was heaven. She told me no, not now. (I’ve been pushing away Christianity for a while now but these questions just came out.) She had a lovely and gentle smile like she used to have when she was alive. She looked happy to see me. She said she wanted to tell me something. She seemed like she couldn’t remember it at first but then she told me to look up Ephesians 6:16 in the Bible. I told her I would,Then I said, Nana, I know you’re dead but this feels so real. How are you here? I started to walk toward her. She smiled at me and then the dream just seemed to melt away. I went into several other strange and unrealistic dreams after that. In all of them I was trying to look up the bible verse but couldnt for one reason or another. I always would go into the next dream if I tried to look it up, or realized I wasnt awake and would try to wake myself up. The dreams seemed to never end. When I finally woke up, I got onto my phone and looked up the verse. Ephesians 6:16 which says: In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. When I read this I got a little paranoid. Was this a real warning? I don’t know. I would really hate to shrug it off. On a side note: My nana’s urn is located in my house sitting on top of my deceased grandpa’s upright piano. She passed away on November 8th. That night when I was waiting for the election results on tv, I heard 3 or 4 clinks coming from a handle of the chester drawers next to the piano. I was the only one awake in the house. I saw the handle lift up by itself on the last clink. Though I felt like I was being watched, I wasn’t frightened. In the afternoon, I tried to recreate the clicks of the handles but couldn’t without physically lifting them up half way and dropping them. It had only occurred to me what the date meant to me a couple of days later. It is early March now. Over the past few days, I have seen a couple of quick apparitions while I’m awake. I have never seen them before and I’ve lived in the house for almost 3 years now. It’s not an old house. Sorry to get off subject. That is all. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  3. Brenda March 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    My father has been dead for 22 years now but I had a dream where he was helping me get down from a high place and I ask him whaBrt was wrong and he said he is just tired.so what could have that meant.

  4. Belinda April 15, 2017 at 6:26 am - Reply

    My daughter died 1 year ago and i dreamed that she was on the other side of the river. The river was calm. But where i saw my daughter it was beautiful and green with lots of different flowers. On my side it was ugly with just dirt and rocks.what does this mean?

  5. Linda April 19, 2017 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    My mum died about 5 years ago and my dad 3.
    Recently I have been getting disturbed dreams where they didn’t die at all. They try buying something with their bank cards to find out it gets declined! I have to try and explain myself to them.
    Since dads death I live in the small family house with my children and there’s a lot of activity here. Someone talking,slamming doors and footsteps. When my oldest daughter stays she sees bright lights. I’m riddled with guilt for spending their bit of money-but all went into this house.

  6. Desiree April 22, 2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    My sister in law passed in January due to a car accident. She has appeared to me twice in a dream. The first one is at a elementary school that was by our house that me and her attended. I was walking from one direction and she was walking from another. She had a baby in her arms and I couldn’t make the babies face but my mind indicate that it was my nephew.( FYI my nephew was 7 yrs old when his mom passed ) I don’t know why he was a baby in my dream but any who, when we finally got close to each other a he stared at me but did not say a word, than my mom appears and she tells the baby look this is your nana and my mom kisses the baby and they walk into a class room and disappear. The second time I had a dream of her we were at a small church and this time she was with both my nephews and they appeared to be 2-3 years old and she sat 2 rows behind me. As I look back at her she’s automatically staring at me, I look away but than I look back at her and there she is making eye contact with me again. In both dreams she’s silent and doesn’t say a word to me. I don’t know why she doesn’t speak to me. I miss her dearly I just wish when i dreamed of her she would at least say hi

  7. Linda Rodriquez May 5, 2017 at 9:50 am - Reply

    I often dream of deceased relatives. Recently I dreamed of my grandmother and most of my deceased maternal aunts. They were all sitting around the dining room table in the three-story brownstone we all lived in together when I was a little girl. There were three generations living in that house at one time. They were all dressed in black. My one aunt came over to me and was looking me right in my face and smiling. She looked so pretty. Her skin was so nice and clear, and her teeth were beautiful. I told her that I missed all of them, and I didn’t want to be “here” without them, but then I said that I was glad to be alive. My female cousin was in the dream with me, but she did not see my deceased relatives. I have also dreamed about my deceased mother and older sister, and often together in the same dream. In my dream I know they are dead, but that dose not matter to me. Sometimes I have dialogue with them and other times I do not. In one dream my deceased sister told me not to marry the guy I was dating because he would become physically abusive, and I took her advice. Last night I dreamed about one of my maternal aunts who gave me some money to take to my old job to give to one of the executives as a belated Christmas present. She went to the job with me and waited downstairs while I went to his office. I also often dream about my young adult children, but in those dreams they are always little children again. One thing is for sure. I am never frightened when I dream about my deceased relatives, in fact I am truly happy to see them because I really miss them as we were a very close-knit family when I was growing up. I am a Christian, and I often pray that God will reveal to me what my dreams of my deceased relatives really mean. All my maternal uncles are deceased also except one, however, I never dream about any of them. I believe that we are all spirit beings. We possess a soul (the mind, will, intellect, and emotions), and we live in a body. I write all my dreams in a journal, but thank you for permitting me to write about some of them on this comment page. God Bless.

  8. Bipasha Gupta May 12, 2017 at 1:33 am - Reply

    Hi. I too saw a dream today after 2 years of my father’s demise and got up at 3:20 am. Usually due to some or other reasons i keep on waking up between 3am to 4am.
    I loved my father and yes i do miss him on a daily basis but i never had a dream about him although i wanted him to come and talk to me in my dreams…
    Today, after 2 and a half years i dreamt that he is alive but somewhere else and totally has a different face which i couldn’t recognize …. neither the place nor the face and got up… but prior to dreaming about that new face and body of my father, i dreamt about how beautiful life could be if he, mom and me could have been together… its been a year that my mother has also passed away…
    After getting up, i googled for the reason of such dream and waking up like this at 3:20am and came across your article… i still don’t know how to join the dots….

  9. Tyson Forstner May 30, 2017 at 3:18 am - Reply

    A good friend, was beaten with a baseball bat. In a coma, and on life support for a week Dr’s as well his mother decided it best to pull the plug because should he find his way out of coma, his brain would be 80% dead.
    At this point in our lives he lived in a different province within Canada. A week had past and I hadn’t had knowledge of anything being wrong!
    I was laying down for a nap, and had this dream of my best friend, in a bedroom fully furnished, very happy seemingly wanting me to play. I noticed 3 shadows across the room sitting in chairs, uncomfortable chairs. I looked back at my besty (Phil) asking him what happened! He wouldn’t say and totally sidetracked my questions!
    I could hear the phone ring in real life time, and it was gradually waking me up! I kept asking what happened but he just kept playing and arsing around! I told him, the phone is going to wake me up, please tell me!
    Nope, the phone woke me up!
    The phone call was a friend, telling me that Phil (my besty), past, and that 2 guys charged (remember I saw 3 shadows)!
    Months later (and hearing couple versions of what happened but never of a 3rd person involved), sure enough a 3rd person charged!
    Thanks for letting me share an God bless!

    RIP Phil

  10. KATE June 30, 2017 at 4:33 am - Reply

    My mom died suddenly in her sleep 3 years ago this Saturday. Since then I have dreamed about her a few times. At first I was trying to catch her from a distance, In later dreams, I say to her “but you died” but she is there like nothing happened and Im trying to process how she is alive again. Today I asked her “is death the end?” And she said “no” and I said “is it worth it?” (Not sure what i meant) and she said “yes” and i kissed and hugged her and said I love you and she disappeared. I hope this isnt the last time I dream about her, but if it is, I’m glad I finally got to say goodbye.

  11. Rosa Barrios July 25, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I want to share that 20 yrs ago I lost my husband in a terrible car accident one block from our hone. We had 3 children together. I’m no psychic but I can give u an account of several dreams THAT had come true. One especial we had moved into our first apartment and had our first child. I had become pregnant again and I had the awfulest dream of my finance at the time in this horrible car accident. Well 6 years later he died in a car accident I saw the tree and everything. Then I dreamt of my grandmother drowning 5 years later she died from congestive heart failure. Yes Selena I dreamt we were at her concert and someone from the audience was trying to shot her as I was screaming trting to her in my dreams 2 yrs later she was shot.

    • Julie Vaughan September 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      I also have dreams that come true my dad died my nephew killed some one my brother died I had these dreams years before I always feel some body is watching me

  12. zarina Christine August 2, 2017 at 8:35 am - Reply

    My brother passed 8 mouths ago I had a dream about him today that he was asking not to let he’s siblings go near him during he’s Beria

  13. Pearl August 8, 2017 at 4:54 am - Reply

    I have a lot of dreams about dead people but i can’t remember what they are doing only one or two spoke to me but i can’t remember what the dreams were about or what was said

  14. sheree August 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    i dream of dead people, none that were close to me, doesn’t happen often but my most recent was of a fb friend who lives in another country, her gran and uncle (who was a child at the time of his death) came to me, there was no way I could’ve known about them….the people who visit me never speak, but I remember everything about it, even if it was years ago…I have yet to learn or figure out what message is trying to be relayed

  15. Cece August 21, 2017 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I dreamed of my uncle who passed on the third of august 9:30 am and last night i dreamed of him and he said to me “Cece i cany breathe its my time now to go” i yelled dont say that uncle and he passed left me crying than i woke up. What does this mean?

  16. Steve August 25, 2017 at 7:10 am - Reply

    My mom passed from cancer in 2004 n my dad had passes several years prior othef than thd odd dream ive never really dreamed about thdm,, now in the last month I have been having several very realistic dreams about my mom a couple were bad In one I was shot several times n was bleading bad n she was just telling me to relax n breathe n I cud see the smoke from the gun like it was goggy n cud smell the gunpowder but she just kept saying I cant come with u but just tfy n breathe I was saying help me over n over until I woke myself up sweating n yelling just help me,, my gf said I was crying n talking in my slp and she was kinda scared but never tfied to wake me up it seemed so real its weird that I can see her but cant touch her but she touches me in my other dreams about her we are at her house n my x wifee is there and things are normal with us just sitting around talking but lately they have all been me being hurt bad n she is there just telling me to breathe n relax n let it go just always seems so real and im always talking in my sleep and I wake jp yelling,,, my girlfriend is getting freaked out n wont sleep in the same bed now cuz its almost every nite this is going on,,, just seems weird that it just started out of the blue, ,, im wondering if something is going to happen to me lol

  17. Lisa D Montoya August 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    My great Gandma has been dead for twenty years. There have only been 3 dreams I could ever remember.but a couple months ago I had a dream of her and she was worried and she kept saying that “he went to war and he never came home…he’s lost you have to find him” over and over and never said a name. I woke up feeling so anxious and feeling like I had to find him..I thought she was talking about her younger brother that she raised. He was young but I didn’t know his name so I was up the entire rest of the night searching all I could with her maiden last name only..I found out later that my brother had record of her younger brother Phillip and that he died over seas in WW2 in 1944 but they brought his body back in 1950… Then I remembered…someone had told me when I was younger that he was married when he left for war and his wife was pregnant. Phillip was 26, his wife Irene disappeared after he died. We are still searching for his child or his child’s offspring. I didn’t dream her this morning but I did hear her voice saying the same thing..over and over. I can’t rest until I do find h.

  18. Jolinda September 9, 2017 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I had a dream my deceased husband had opened a door and just stood there and never said a word, then I woke up. What does that mean

  19. Louise October 7, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I lost my parents over twenty years ago and have never had any regret over unsaid words etc etc
    But I am recently dreaming about them a lot with me as my age now and they are as they were before illness
    Sometimes in our family home
    Sometimes in other houses that I have lived but I always wake up very sad and it can take a good couple of hours to shake that feeling
    Any thoughts anyone?

  20. yesenia October 16, 2017 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Hi my name is yesenia , my cousin past away of a over dose . Ever since he past away I’ve dreamed about him . But in my dreams i see him in his coffin with stichess on his eyes and mouth and his trying to tell me something but cant .I feel so sad because the last time i aaw him he was here at my house but i didnt want to see him because he was drunk. He loved my kids so much .why do i have these dreams about him

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