Just this week, I was talking with a high school classmate who shared with me that he had been having several dreams about his late wife. She had suddenly died early last fall at a very young age, leaving him behind with an infant son. As Larry and I talked, he admitted that these dreams were upsetting to him, because he hadn’t dreamed about her in many months.
Because I know that dreams are a normal part of the healing process, I explained to him how dreams are the mind’s way of processing our loss, and trying to make sense of a senseless situation. In my nightly reading, I came across some additional thoughts I want to share.
A dream may reflect a searching for the person who died. Perhaps you dream that you are in a crowded room and can’t find your loved one. It seems unfair, that you are experiencing the loss again and again.
Even in your sleep, you have to experience the death, and you might feel powerless to stop it, just as in reality.
Dreams also provide several opportunities. You might have a need to feel closer to the person who died. Perhaps your mind is trying to accept the reality of the death. Or, oftentimes, our subconscious enjoys renewing the memories that made that person so special in the first place.
Another opportunity of our dreams could be resolving unfinished business. If the death occurred without warning, and there wasn’t a chance to say goodbye, your subconscious could be attempting to make peace. Dreams can also show you a hope for the future, especially if your loved one gives you permission to move forward.
The content of your dreams often reflects changes as you progress in your grief journey. It’s important to find a skilled listener, who will simply listen without interpreting your dreams.
However, if you are not dreaming about your loved one, that’s okay too. Your grief journey is unique to you and depends on many factors. Do not feel slighted for not having dreams. No two people will grieve the same and grieving differently just reaffirms that we are all different and unique, just as our loved ones.