Grieving has an indefinite duration. For someone, it may take months, but for others, it may take an eternity. 

Losing our loved ones can be a hard pill to swallow— that’s why we turn to dreams— hoping to catch a sliver of their apparition. There are also instances where the old times are vividly replayed in our minds as if it’s the present.

To dream of your deceased loved ones may hold significant messages, asking you to listen and understand the meaning behind them.

Why do we dream of our deceased loved ones?

Seeing our loved ones in dreams can give us mixed emotions of happiness, fear, regrets, and comfort. Most of the time, it confuses us and makes us wonder.

Spiritual Meaning 

For years, spiritual leaders, dream analysts, and psychologists have stated various reasons and interpretations of why we dream of our loved ones. 

A popular belief is that the dead cannot contact us when fully active or awake. That’s why it’s when we are dormant that our loved ones communicate with us. Or it could be that an untimely death or an unfulfilled wish could be why dead people contact us through our dream.

Hence, dreams are a medium through which dead people communicate with us.

Psychological Meaning

In psychology, it is believed that most dreams concerning dead people are in our subconscious mind. When we dream of a dead relative, it manifests our sorrow, guilt, and repentance.

A new study by Dr. Joshua Black says it is normal to have grief dreams. Like the ones in which people see their dead parents. His study shows that 86% of individuals who have lost a parent, for instance, have encountered grief dreams at least once.

However, frequently dreaming of dead parents uncovers our requirements for security, well-being, guidance, and help. We regularly go to our parents for help and assurance on the most troublesome occasions. Also, they are always there when facing defeats and uncertainties.

What does it mean when we dream of them?

Most of us believe that dreaming of our loved ones is just our memories working. But for some, such dreams are filled with messages and meanings for us to analyze.

Dream expert and psychologist Ruben Naiman, Ph.D., explained in his interview with Mindbodygreen that interpreting our dreams widens and enlightens our psychological awareness, expanding our consciousness.

He added that the key is to feel the emotions our dream evokes us. And identify the emotional experience we had rather than the literal visual elements of the dream.

The following is why we dream of our deceased loved ones:

You’re grieving.

Research conducted by Joshua Black, Ph.D., states that grief dreams are great tools to process the trauma of a loss as they serve as a gateway to regulating our emotions and maintaining connections with our deceased loved ones.

To mirror this,  Lauri Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst, states that her clients often feel comforted when their deceased loved ones appear in their dreams, which is very helpful in the grieving process.

You’re self-sabotaging.

A common scenario in our dream involves our loved ones trying to harm us. Lauri Loewenberg says that this represents the self-sabotaging part of yourself that exhibits similar behaviors as this loved one in your dream.

Asking yourself if you’re exhibiting self-sabotage or if there’s something your loved one had struggled with in the past that you must change in yourself is necessary to have closure with your emotions.

You could be having a visitation dream.

We also believe that our loved ones can communicate with us beyond death. If you have dreamed of your loved ones, there’s a possibility that you have pondered the possibility yourself.

You’re projecting your emotions.

While most of our dreams about our loved ones are comforting and positive, there are cases where our loved ones are projecting emotions of anger, disappointment, and sadness. 

According to Lauri Loewenberg, these emotions are not of your loved ones but yours. These can be the deep-rooted emotions you do not address in your waking life.

For instance, if your loved one is mad at you in your dreams, it means you are mad at yourself for some reason. We have these dreams if we feel we have an unsettled business with our deceased loved ones.

Cultural meanings.

Different cultures worldwide have their interpretations of dreams related to dead relatives.


According to Christianity, dreams concerning dead relatives are a bad omen. They perceive the dead person as a ghost or a demon in disguise. These ghosts could be an “unsettled spirit” who, unfortunately, could not finish some work before their untimely departure. So, Christians believe it is best to ignore such dreams before the ghost spreads evil. 


In Hindu culture, no deep meaning is associated with dreams related to dead relatives. They are often associated with your memories if the dream is happy and pleasant. They are often associated with your memories. But overall, there is no great significance associated with these dreams.


For the Wiccans, dreaming about dead relatives is taken very seriously. It is considered the spirit of the dead person who wishes to communicate something important to you. So, treating them with utmost importance like you would treat them in real life would be best. They may ask questions, and you should answer them as honestly as possible.


The Chinese consider dreams related to dead people as good omens. Chinese give a lot of importance to their ancestors; thus, a dead relative appearing in your dream is a good sign. Your family is believed to be protected and blessed if you see a dead relative in your dream.

What are the different interpretations of these dreams?

Dreams of a deceased relative talking to you.

Often, we dream of our dead loved ones talking to us. There are several interpretations of this dream. Many psychologists believe this dream may mean that the dead person is trying to reach us spiritually to communicate something. You may be missing your relative, which may be a way of your subconscious mind to help you deal with it. The other way to interpret this dream is that your dead relative had unfinished business and is seeking closure.

Dreams of a dead relative calling you to go somewhere.

This dream is usually considered a bad sign. It signals a grave danger in the future. It could also mean a sign of some serious sickness.

Dreams of a dead relative smiling at you.

This dream is a good sign, and there is no cause for worry. Most of the time, we do not fully accept the death of a close family member, and dreaming of them is quite common. You may see them smiling at you as you still process their absence in your subconscious. No doubt it’s a sad state but does not overthink about such dreams and try to move on.

Dreams of hugging a dead relative. 

Dreams like these mean that you have not fully accepted the death of your beloved one. Hugging someone is a gesture of warmth, closeness, and togetherness. Hugging your dead relative signifies you do not want to let go of that person. Such a dream can be emotionally exhausting as you are still trying to deal with the loss.

Dreams of a dead relative not talking to you.

Sometimes we dream of a relative visiting us but not talking to us. This dream may signal a warning referring to some activities that may not be appropriate. Try to read the signal and make changes accordingly.

Dreams of a dead relative arguing with you.

If you have been dreaming of someone arguing, it simply means you have made a mistake. Your loved one is trying to signal you to alter your behavior or to amend your mistake. Take such a dream positively and introspect to bring in a positive change.

Dreams of a dead relative in a different form.

Sometimes dreams can be weird, where we see a dead person appearing in our dream in a form other than their natural self. Such a dream, at times, could be disturbing and traumatic. But instead of worrying, try to interpret the dream. Your loved one could be trying to send you a signal about an impending danger. Pay attention to such signals and try to avoid a harmful situation.

Dreams of a dead relative blessing you.

It is believed that if a dead person comes and blesses you in your dream, it’s a good omen. Such a dream signifies that you will succeed in whatever you do or think. So, consider this a happy dream and a blessing in disguise.

Dreams of a dead relative looking healthier and younger.

Your dead relative appears far more vibrant and healthier than they were when they passed away. They want to tell you they did not suffer during their last days. They are now in a safe and happy place, and they can appear happy to you.

Dreams of a dead relative telling you they are fine.

Often in your dreams, you get a feeling of your dead relative trying to assure you that they are okay. This dream can be interpreted as your dear one trying to tell you that they are fine and you need not worry about them. It is comforting and reassuring to know that your beloved, although in a world far away from you, is happy.

Dreams related to your dead grandparents.

Grandparents are the most important people for most of us. Grandparents are full of warmth and love. Grandparents are always supporting us and are there for us. Not surprisingly, their positive presence extends beyond their death. Dreaming of a dead grandparent is a positive sign. These dreams can be interpreted as a warm and comforting presence that our grandparents are always beside us and looking after us.

When should you seek help?

If you repeatedly dream of a dead relative, this could indicate that they are trying to communicate something important to you. In such cases, it may disturb you and cause mental stress. But try to stay calm and seek a solution. You can reach out for help and talk to a psychiatrist, a spiritual leader, or a dream interpreter. They can help you interpret your dreams and find solace.

Final Thoughts

Dreaming of our deceased loved ones is a beautiful opportunity. Instead of seeing it as a source of worry, picture your dreams positively.

In your dreams, welcome them with a smile, hug them, and ask for their guidance. Meeting them again in our dreams can console our hearts and comfort our souls. There is always a purpose for which they visit you, and you should express gratitude for meeting their departed soul.

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