Over the years, the most asked questions and requested Dream Interpretations consistently involve dreams about lost loved ones. I think there are several reasons for this.
- Some people want to know what the dreams mean.
- Some dreamers believe that their loved ones are trying to communicate with them.
- These dreams are often recurring and people want to know when they’ll stop.
- If the wounds are still fresh from having lost this individual, dreamers want the dreams to go away and are seeking advice on how to make them do just that.
First of all, having never been “on the other side,” I have no idea whatsoever if lost loved ones try to (or are even able to) communicate with their loved ones through dreams. However, I’ve lost a lot of loved ones – including my mom and dad, each who passed away far sooner (and younger) than anyone would have expected. From these experiences, I do know feel 100 percent that our loved ones communicate with us in the waking world. I’ve had far too many beautiful experiences to even begin to doubt this. However, I’ve never had a dream that I, personally, felt was from a lost loved one.
They weren’t dreams that left me happy or encouraged – they always caused me to feel sad. I KNOW for a fact my loved ones wouldn’t have wished that on me.
For this reason, I believe that when we dream of our lost loved ones, it’s a clear case of one thing and one thing only: Our brains are trying to find a way to deal with and come to terms with this most unthinkable situation. The grief, complete and utter devastation and helplessness that associate the loss of loved ones is almost too much for our brains to handle. The “WHY“s and “WHAT IF“s are overwhelming. We wonder why it had to happen, what we could have done differently (while they were living), what if something different had happened – something that would have kept them with us, etc.
If you think about it, that’s an unreal amount of information and grief for our minds and hearts to cope with. During the day, we “stay busy” and “keep our minds occupied” (in other words, we do what we have to do to keep from crying and/or throwing things 24/7). So, when we’re finally asleep, it’s as though our mind says, “Finally! They’re still. They’re quiet. Let me try to sort this out.”
You’ve heard of the saying, “I’m trying to wrap my mind around something,” right? In this case, it’s as though the mind is trying to wrap itself around something. Something that, frankly, can’t totally be wrapped around.
Unfortunately, these dreams are as much a part of the grieving process as tears are. Trust me, they do go away – and, fortunately, they don’t happen every single night for most people.
The only advice I can give is this:
- Try not to focus on the dreams. Don’t replay them in your mind over and over again – it’s sort of like a slow torture. The more we relive a dream, the more likely a similar one is to recur.
- During the day, try to keep your thoughts directed more on the loved one’s life than their death. Keep them alive in your mind and heart by thinking of things you did together, times they made you laugh, times you made them laugh, the sound of their voice, etc. A lot of people try to avoid these thoughts because they think they’ll make the dreams worse. They’ll actually help. By contrast, however, don’t dwell on the funeral, regrets, etc. Don’t take part in the typical (and understandable) conversations that ask what could have been done, “Why did this happen,” and so on. Looking for answers that don’t exist will only frustrate you mind further, which will lead to it trying to sort things out while you’re asleep.
- A word about regrets. Never, ever allow regrets to dominate your thoughts. Don’t let them rent a room in your mind’s chambers and NEVER let them move in! Think about it this way – what if it had been YOU who’d passed away? Would this loved one have things he or she would regret? Of course! We’re all human, capable of human frailties and faults. But, would you want them to be haunted by regrets or guilt? Of course not. You’d want to tell them, “Forget about that. I never gave it a second thought – I know you loved me. Only remember the good times. I don’t want to be remembered with tears or pain – I want to be remembered positively with laughter and smiles.”
Your lost loved ones soon become a normal part of the fabric of your dreams. They’ll often show up, just as though they were still alive and had never gone anywhere. My dad was in a dream of mine a few weeks ago, eating green beans biscuits, and chicken that I’d cooked for him. I woke up smiling because it was like a sweet little visit with someone who always made me laugh.
If you’re experiencing unsettling dreams, just keep reminding yourself that they’ll soon become dreams you look forward to rather than dread. Until then, bear down and get through this part of the healing process as well as you can. You’re in my thoughts and I’m truly, truly sorry for your loss.
If you’re serious about dream prophesy, dream analysis, dream interpretation, and really getting to the heart of what your dreams mean, you’ll need your dream recall to be on the absolute TOP of its game!
- How well do you remember your dreams?
- Do you remember your emotions and feelings during your dreams?
- Do you recognize most of the people in your dreams?
- In the morning, can you recall at least one of your dreams?
- Do you recall the various “symbols” in your dreams?
If you feel that your dream recall needs a little work, I have the perfect solution: A Dream Journal. While you don’t absolutely have to run out and buy a new notebook or journal to serve as your Dream Journal – it would be a cool idea. You could use any notebook you have around the house, of course, but the more “special” you make the entire experience, the better.
Even if you simply go to one of those amazing stores where everything is $1 and buy a notebook in your favorite color – you’re making a point of taking the entire enterprise seriously, and that’s what’s important. My first Dream Journal was actually a wire notebook with colorful Lisa Frank dolphins on the front. Seemed appropriate enough!
Here’s another idea that adds to the adventure. Find a pocket folder (for mere pennies) to keep with your dream journal. I’ll tell you what it’s for in just a minute!
Get Started With Your Dream Journal
Once you have your dream journal, go ahead and enter a recent dream. Include the people who were in the dream, what you were doing in the dream (what you hoped to accomplish or were trying to avoid), the symbols (knives, snakes, balloons, candles, fire, clouds – anything that stands out) in the dream, and most importantly – HOW YOU FELT DURING THE DREAM. Also, list any and all colors that you remember. List only the top 3 colors you remember – 4 at the most. Oddly enough, this is very important!
A typical journal entry might look something like this:
I was driving an old beaten up red pick up truck. My beloved basset hound, Honey, was in the passenger’s seat. We were in a huge hurry to get somewhere and Honey could talk. In fact, she talked practially the whole time. Her collar, instead of being her normal hot pink one was white. I couldn’t make sense of that in my dream – though her talking didn’t shock me. I was confused as to why the collar changed colors.
We were in a huge hurry and I was driving really fast. We were on dirt roads and passed by a lot of farm houses and brown horses. At some point, my cat Lanie joined us and could also talk. He wasn’t in a hurry and wanted us to slow down and get something to eat. Then I woke up. Hungry.
Main Colors: Red, white, brown
Emotions: Rushed, confused, anxious, hungry!
The above dream is actually one of the first ones I ever recorded in a dream journal. This is actually the VERY dream that began my study of and fascination with dreams. When I was thinking about this dream the next day at school (instead of listening to my Algebra teacher!), I realized that, underneath it all, I was feeling many of the same feelings in my real life as I did in my dream. By the time the class was over, a lifelong fascination with dreams and heartfelt belief in the importance of their interpretations had taken hold.
Be sure that you enter your “feelings” as accurately as possible. Here are a few suggestions: joyful, sad, anxious, worried, depressed, helpless, surprised, ashamed, agitated, frustrated, curious, confused, powerful, unloved, ignored, furious, hopeful, optimistic, sexy, ugly, brave, etc. Even if the emotions seem to have NOTHING to do with one another, write them down.
Remember the Folder?!
This exercise adds even more fun to your dream recall and analysis. Cut out or draw/color pictures that symbolize your dream. If you have room in your dream journal to tape (or draw) them onto the pages, do so. If not, clip the images together with a paper clip, then add a little piece of paper with the date of the dream.
Having visuals of the colors and symbols can really help put you in touch with your inner feelings and emotions.
I have many more articles and exercises planned to add to the site that deal with Dream Journals and Dream Recall – with plenty more about images and, even, collages. So, please grab an rss feed and/or sign up for e-mail updates, so you’ll know what’s been added as soon as it’s here for you. I just wish I could open up my notebooks (and brain!) and pour everything out at once. Kind of impossible, though, so I’ll just take it steady.
I’m actually working on a downloadable Dream Journal template for the site, color charts, and a visual guide to dream symbols. So much to do!
Have a glorious weekend – if you need me, I’ll be right here, typing, thinking, and tweaking away with coffee and chocolate fueling me along.
As we continue to put Dream Prophesy back together, we’ve added to the What Your Dreams Mean Section. Be sure and leave comments in this (and every!) section. One of the things I loved most about the old Dream Prophesy site were the frequent comments. Our visitors were always very generous with their own dreams, comments, and experiences. All of this interaction made for a great, fun, and enlightening experience – so I’m hoping lightning will strike twice and we’ll luck into a lot of chatters extraordinaire!
I’ve been checking and double-checking the colors on 3 different computers in our house. Each one renders different colors, so I know that each of you have different viewing experiences as well. If any of these fonts (words) are difficult for you to read – let me know. The gray quotes at the end of each post are tough to read on one of my computers, but they look dead on gorgeous on two of the other ones. Just let me know and I’ll monkey with them some more.
“Throughout history people have struggled with the notion of what is real. An ancient Chinese philosopher, Chuang-tzu, dreamed he was a butterfly. He awoke suddenly and pondered whether he was a man who dreamed of being a butterfly – or whether he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man. The paradox reflects the Taoist belief in the balance and play of yin and yang, the union of opposites.” – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams
Abraham Lincoln’s infamous “prophetic” dream. Was it REALLY prophetic or coincidental?
I’m a huge history buff, and the Civil War Era is a particular favorite. The bravery and boldness of those men and women fighting for what was right – and winning in the end. Reading about this period of time is better than any novel or movie on the market today!
Naturally, Abraham Lincoln is someone I love reading about – the more, the better. The dreamologist and the historian in me meet up each time I (we?) read about the prophetic dream he had during his Presidency.
A few weeks before his tragic assassination, Abraham Lincoln dreamed that he saw someone lying in a coffin. In the dream, he asked someone was in the coffin.
Their response? “The President.”
It would be very easy to say that dreams are able to “predict” events based upon this example. However, logic must prevail. Many threats, at this time, were being made against President Abraham Lincoln’s life. The people around him were constantly having to step up their security measures. No doubt it was a frequent topic of conversation and, given the fact that Abraham Lincoln was (although a great hero) still a mere human, he probably thought about these threats a great deal.
Can you imagine? Knowing that people want to kill you?! OF COURSE his dreams were affected. How could they not be?
Dreams are often our mind’s way of “dealing with” and “processing” information and situations. Combine this with the fact that stress can greatly affect your dreams, I would imagine that Abraham Lincoln had a very disturbing dream life.
His dream is simply an example of how our fears and thoughts manifest themselves into our dreams. It’s also a clear example of how we can use our dreams to help and, even, protect us. If Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest men to ever live, had heeded his dream’s warning and taken extraordinairy securtiy measures, his life might not have ended as it did – or when it did. If he had realized that the threat was still extremely high – then he could have stayed out of the public eye for a while longer. OR, insist on much, much tighter security when he did make a public appearance.
Like most things in our lives, dreams can help us to achieve a better life. And, yes, sometimes, even a longer life.
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln
The Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQs) Page is up and running. Here you’ll find questions that we have been asked over the years regarding sleep, dreams, dream recall, dream prophesy, daydreams, lucid dreams, nightmares, recurring dreams, etc.
You’ll find a contact form on the FAQs’ page for your own use, if you have a question we haven’t addressed yet.
“In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.” – Steven Kloves, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban