What Does It Mean When You Dream of Someone Who Has Died? 17 Common Meanings

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By Jonathan Trent

Dreaming about someone who is no longer with us is both a beautiful and heartbreaking experience and is a major aspect of grief. To understand why, here are 17 common reasons why you have dreamt of somebody after their death.

You Are Still Grieving

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Grief takes time, with your dreams acting as a coping mechanism for the trauma of losing someone important to you. Even if you’re quite far into the grieving process, the appearance of a deceased loved one in your dream means that the person still occupies a spot in your subconscious.


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If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness after the death of a loved one, you may be more likely to dream about them. This is your brain providing you with some temporary relief from the feelings of isolation that you are experiencing.

Thinking About the Person

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Sometimes, the reason you dream of someone who has died is as simple as the fact that you have recently been thinking about them. As TIME Magazine puts it, dreams serve as a ‘data dump, so dreams about a deceased person simply show that they have been on your mind.

Needing Guidance

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When you’re going through a tough spell and are in need of a bit of advice from someone you have always trusted but are no longer with, they will occasionally pop up in your dreams. It’s their way of telling you that whilst they’re no longer alive, they’re still there for you.

Wanting to Know They’re OK

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When someone dies, especially through illness, a desire to know whether they are truly at peace can eat away at those left behind. If they appear in your dream, it could well be your brain telling you that everything is OK and they are no longer suffering.

A Strong Desire to See Them Again

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Dreams often reflect our personal, subconscious desires. This means that if you see someone in your dream who you have been desperate to see again after their death, your mind could be trying to fulfill a desire that cannot be experienced in real life. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Attempting to Solve a Problem

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When you are in a difficult situation or have a clear problem in front of you that requires solving, the conundrum will likely follow you into your sleep. As the BBC suggests, dreams are the brain’s attempt to solve life’s problems, so deceased relatives may appear in these situations as a guiding point.

Experiencing Delayed Grief

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Suppressing feelings of grief in the aftermath of a death is a coping mechanism, and sadly, it’s not an effective way of moving on. A failure to truly process your emotions after a loss will leave the person in your subconscious, making you prone to having delayed dreams about them.

You’ve Spoken About Grief

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Sometimes, being visited by a deceased loved one in your dream may result from showing empathy toward another person who is going through grief. If you’ve had a conversation with them about their feelings, it could bring back memories in the form of dreams, reminding you of what you went through.  

Finding Closure

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If your dream involving a dead loved one was positive, it may mean that you have finally found closure and moved on from the dark side of your grief. This can feel like a sense of relief washing over you once you wake up. Who knows, they may appear again soon!

You’re on the Edge of a Personal High

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Optimism is a breeding ground for positive dreams, so if you are visited in your sleep by a deceased person in a positive manner, it could mean that bright personal moments are on their way. This can involve anything from enjoying a moment with the person to simply smiling at you.

Worrying About Your Own Mortality

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If you’ve ever experienced fear over your own death, you’re not alone, as feeling anxious and uneasy over one’s mortality is perfectly natural, according to Forbes. These fears are often heightened after losing a loved one, following you into your dreams in the form of the recently deceased.

Starting a New Phase in Life

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Making a big change in your life isn’t easy; it can be daunting to transition and think about whether you should stay put or move on. A loved one who is no longer alive showing up in a dream can represent your past, offering you closure on the previous version of yourself.

Feelings of Guilt

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If you feel you have let someone down while they were still alive, these guilt feelings can manifest themselves inside your dreams. It can represent the feeling that it’s time to move on, as there is nothing you can do about the past. So, give yourself a break.


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There is not always a clear reason why you have been visited by a dead relative in your dreams, as sometimes there is no other reason for it other than randomness. Not every dream serves a purpose or presents you with life-affirming information, so don’t overthink it. 


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Our brains are wired to experience feelings of nostalgia. As National Geographic states, nostalgia can increase our sense of well-being, making us feel youthful and optimistic. So, if a deceased person you once cared for appears in your dreams, this could just be a healthy and nostalgic brain mechanism.

Fear Over Potential Obstacles

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Finally, if you’re a naturally anxious person and often fear potential scenarios that are yet to happen, you may find yourself dreaming about the deceased. This often comes in the form of dreaming about parents, usually because you are hoping for them to guide you through the obstacles. We wish you good luck!

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