There is an old song whose lyrics go, “I'll see you in my dreams, hold you in my dreams.” So many who have lost a loved one wish for this to happen. I remember going into work one day and being called to a friend’s office. Her father had died months before and tears were streaming down her face as she told me of her dream the night before. “He was there. My father stood in front of me and held out his arms, I ran to him and he embraced me in a hug,” she told me. “He smelled like my father and his voice was his and I still remember the feeling of his hug as he told me that he loved me.”  It gave her comfort to connect to him once again and to remember in such detail his very essence that she missed so much.

Many people report having dreams of their loved ones. Often they bring comfort, while sometimes they bring confusion. Some are as clear as my friend’s was and some don’t seem to make sense and are a mixture of fantasy and reality. When I hear a client tell me of a dream, I always ask how they felt about it. Do they still remember it clearly or have the details faded? Did the dream involve all of the senses such as smell, touch, seeing and hearing? Were there words spoken and did they make sense to the dreamer? 

Sometimes dreams are just a way for us to process what is happening in our lives. Our unconscious mind sorts through the many emotions and experiences we are having during our waking state. Trying to analyze some of our dreams can be an impossible task as the elements range from the silly to the bizarre. However, when we have a dream of connection, no interpretation is needed. The experience seems as real as if we were actually with them. We wake trying to remember each sensation, hoping that it will remain with us. Our hearts ache at the separation, yet our soul lights up at the remembering so clearly. 


There is much debate as to whether or not these dreams are actually connections with our loved ones on the “other side.” No matter your view, when you have a dream that brings your loved one to you in a way that involves all of your senses and leaves such an indelible mark on you that you can recall the dream weeks or months later, you are transformed in a small way. These dreams usually bring comfort to a grieving heart and this is a blessing. So to all who grieve, I wish you sweet dreams.


Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.


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Comment by Barbara Brizius on May 18, 2012 at 11:36pm


If I may comment. I lost my 18 yr old son 8 yrs ago. I went to such depths of grief I did wonder if I could ever/would come back up to reality. After 8 years, I have come to believe that my son communicated with me - not when requested by me - but at times that he felt I need it most - or maybe at times he felt I was ready to be receptive. I agree with Nancy. As much as we would like to know they are here, sometime we are not ready but do not realize it because we are so rapped up in our grief.

Give it time. Dont' try to force it. It will come. And when it does it will be an excellerating moment that will be with you forever.

Comment by Nancy Weil on March 15, 2012 at 3:09pm

It feels "out of reach" because you are so low right now. Participating in activities that "lift you up" can be helpful, even if only for a few moments. Listen to joyful music, dance for no reason, walk, breathe, laugh and do the things that bring you into the "now"  Grief is often experienced by looking back in regret or looking forward in fear, so by getting into the present moment, you can feel some relief.  It will get easier, you will find ways to adapt to this new world that no longer has your loved one in it and you will even smile and laugh again....but for now breathe and know my prayers are with you.

Comment by Lorraine on March 15, 2012 at 3:05pm

Thanks for your reply Nancy, I was lucky to be loved sooo much but at the moment it just doesn't seem enough...  people who have been through this keep telling me "it will get easier.." but for me right now it feels out of reach... :-(

Comment by Nancy Weil on March 6, 2012 at 9:03am

Lorraine, Unfortunately there is no way to command their presence -in our dreams or other ways. We can invite and ask, but ultimately they may give us signs that they are still around us in other ways or not at all. I wish I knew why this was, but there seems to be no clear answer. All we can do is have faith that our love continues to connect us. May you find peace on your grief journey.

Comment by Lorraine on March 1, 2012 at 11:52am

My mum passed away two weeks ago and I am desperate to dream about her....  I think she was in my dream the other night but I can't fully remember.  I've had really vivid dreams in the past of people in my life who have died - distant relatives etc BUT the main one I want hasn't happened yet. Normally I find that whatever happens in my days ends up in my dreams albeit a bit muddled so can't understand WHY my mum hasn't been in ,y deams yet..I wonder if it's my subconscious mind protecting me...  I'm so deeply sad that she's no longer here .. :-(

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