Dreams often make promises they can't keep, an aspect of our psyches that brings with it a fleeting feeling of reconnection. Many people say that regardless of the outcome of the dream, they are grateful for even a few more moments with a deceased loved one.
Dreams sometimes give us glimpses of other worlds. We may never know how real they are. Some dreams are crazy, others hard to figure out, and some may turn out to be real. We do know that dreams are a natural part of sleep. They symbolize everything from our hopes to our deepest fears.
Dreams can provide us with information about what is really going on inside us. Our dreams can demonstrate the inevitable lack of control we feel when we are grieving. Dreams may serve many purposes, including a distraction from pain or our soul grappling with the reality of loss.
Dreams help us deal with overwhelming feelings while we sleep, an aid to the grief process, as the unconscious mind cannot distinguish between a wish and reality. We may not realize how much we work out psychologically in our dream state. All of us dream every night, but only a small percentage of us are aware of our dreams after we wake. Dreams can become a meeting place between the world of the living and the realm of the deceased.
During grief, our dreams often change. Messages are usually much more to the point and contain signs of reassurance, continued existence and emotional support. When our deceased loved ones appear in the dream world, it provides a respite from the current world of pain and loss.
When people dream of a loved one, they often report feeling a sense of peace afterward, a reassurance beyond words. Some have pangs of pain when they realize it was only a dream, but eventually, the dreams will begin to subside and become less frequent. While they are still happening, they often represent a form of communication, reassurance and emotional support.
The dream vision of a loved one can also represent unfinished business, giving us the chance to complete something that ended all too soon.
Our dreams show us that our loved ones are not, in essence, the sick people we tearfully said goodbye to in the hospital. Neither are our loved ones the bodies we saw at the funeral homes. Our loved ones are healthy and intact, the people we knew and now long to see again.
Who and what are you dreaming about? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
David Kessler is the author of Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms (May 2010), as well as the co-author with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross of On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons. Visit his website for more help and resources.
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