butterfly_windowsill-300x264I’m often asked about those dreams we have about our loved ones after they die. Are they really coming through to us while we dream? Read on to find out what I think. This is a correspondence between a lady who was recently widowed and me…

My husband died 9 months ago and since then I have had four short dreams of him. I’ve seen his face in only one of the dreams. In all of the others we are side by side – in one he is driving, in another we are going through the mail, and in the other we are standing at his workbench.
– Valerie, Chicago, IL

Lauri: Your dreams during this time can be very helpful to your grief process as well as comforting. I believe you may have  seen his face in only one of the dreams because it has been difficult to “face” the reality of his passing. That’s usually what it means when we can’t see faces in a dream, there is something difficult to face in waking life. As the grief lightens, rest assured, you will have dreams where you can see his face.

In the dream where you are side by side, I believe that it is him, his spirit, his consciousness, letting you know that he is still with you, by your side. Believe me, I have heard countless dreams from people who have lost loved ones and they entail this same sort of detail where the loved one shows he or she is still around.

In your other dream he is driving because – I believe for two reasons – on one level (the spiritual level) he is driving because he is not only with you but also guiding you right now as you try to navigate through the grief. And on another level (the psychological level), he is driving because he is still a driving force in your life, in your thoughts and in your heart. Your grief over him probably drives most of your decisions and even behavior. But that’s okay. You MUST grieve and not be apologetic for it.

I do find it interesting that you are going through the mail. The mail represents your ability to communicate with him, in which case he is letting you know that – through your dreams – he is communicating with you. And even through little signs throughout the day he may be letting you know he is around: in the butterfly that lands on your windowsill, in the bird that lands on your porch and looks at you, in the colors in the sky and in the sound of the wind, he is sending mail to you, messages that he is still around.

Standing at his workbench may be a message of encouragement that you need to and that you can “work” through the grief. And on a deeper spiritual level, he may be telling you that you can feel his presence there when you need to. It is also possible that this could be a message regarding your own work or job. Anything going on there? Perhaps he is telling you to hang in there and that he is, as always, by your side.

While I can’t say with 100% certainty that your husband is communicating with you through these dreams, I can say that I have heard enough “after death” dreams to draw my own personal conclusion that our loved ones can communicate while we are in the dream state. That’s not to say every dream you have about you husband will be him – sometimes he will be standing in for your own male, assertive, get ‘er done energy… but sometimes it could be him. You’ll know. Those dreams feel different than other dreams and you wake from them still feeling him near you, even smelling him. I believe he is with you, around you and communicating with you.

Read one of my personal experiences with dreams and death.

Valerie replies: Your analysis is spot on and has brought me a great deal of comfort and joy. Yes, it has been difficult to “face” the reality of Christopher’s sudden passing.  I so look forward to when I can see his face in my dreams. I do believe he is still with me and has been communicating with me. In the dream where I saw his face, I walked in the front door and saw him bent over to pick something up. I said “Oh, there you are” and he stood up and said “Yeah, I’m right here. Where’d ya think I was?”

Funny you mentioned a butterfly and a bird. Prior to emailing you today I noticed a colorful butterfly on the windowsill – a very unusual sight in April in Chicago. And on two occasions since his passing birds have flown close and touched me and that never happened before in my life. There have been many other “communications” including his picture falling off the china cabinet into my purse on Christmas day – I now understand he “mailed” me a Christmas card.

Most amazing is that you mentioned my job in regards to the workbench dream. He wanted me to quit my demanding job, but I knew the economy would eventually take its toll and I wanted to stick it out to get the severance package. By the end of August grief and the tense work environment were taking their toll. As I was getting dressed I said out loud “Alright Christopher, if this job is ending let’s get it over with.” Three hours later I was handed my severance package. In the dream the workbench was perpendicular to where it actually is… now that I know the dream has to do with a job I think it may mean to go in a different direction work wise.

Thank you for confirming that loved ones can communicate while we are in the dream state. Grief books only hint at it, but hearing it from an esteemed researcher means so much. Lauri, I am so glad I turned the radio on this morning. I know much of your work concerns funny, strange and wild dreams, but I’m sure you know how important dreams are to those of us experiencing loss. I know I am blessed to have had dreams of my Christopher – a lady in my grief group would give anything to dream of her husband. Thank you for the work you do and thank you for your sweet analysis of my dreams. I have printed your email and will reread it whenever I need a pick me up.

After hearing me on WGN in Chicago, Valerie went to my site and purchased a personal dream interpretation. As you can see, dreams have an awful lot to tell you! 

“Dreams really do hold the answers! Thank you so much for your interpretation. It totally made sense. It helped me to avoid making the mistake of a life time.”  – Judy, Strathroy, Ontario