Have you ever dreamed of someone you love who has died? In grief, it’s common to dream about loved ones who have passed away, as your mind processes your thoughts and feelings about them. Sometimes, if God allows it for a good purpose, you may even experience a dream visitation, in which the soul of a family member or friend visits you from heaven in a dream. You can experience wonder anytime a loved one appears in your dreams – and the awe you feel can lead you to important spiritual insights.
In Wake Up to Wonder, I share the story of a dream visitation I experienced from my mother’s soul, several years after she passed away. It happened after I asked God to send her my love and let her know that I still missed her deeply. God gave Mom permission to visit me on the same night that I prayed that prayer to him. Our encounter was much more vivid and impactful than a regular dream. It was clear that I wasn’t just having a dream; I was receiving a dream meeting between our souls. Even though Mom had been older and struggling with cancer when she died, she appeared young and healthy. A bright light shone from her, radiating joy that I could feel. We met in a place that looked like an airport, where we talked with each other telepathically (mind to mind). Mom spoke enthusiastically about all she was learning in heaven. She joked with me that cartoons of heaven showing people bored by sitting on clouds forever was nothing like the reality of what she was experiencing. Heaven was an active place, full of adventures, she said. After a few minutes, Mom said she had to go, but promised to support me in prayer from heaven for the rest of my life on earth. The love we expressed while saying goodbye to each other felt like a powerful wave of energy rolling over me. Then, Mom ascended an escalator and gradually moved out of view.
Our conversation in that dream gave me the peace I needed to move forward in my life, without being weighed down by grief. That said, I would never have attempted to contact Mom apart from God, since that would be spiritually dangerous. Please don’t ever go outside of God’s care and direction to contact your own departed loved ones. Doing so opens doors for any spirit (including spirits who want to harm you) to walk through. God, who is infinitely wise and loving, will do what’s best for you when you ask him in prayer. I’ll always treasure the gift of that wondrous dream visitation that God made possible.
Dreaming about departed loved ones – whether or not you can communicate with them – may happen anytime. Sometimes those dreams happen around the same time as when people die. The souls of family members or friends may reach into your consciousness through your dreams as they’re leaving earth and moving on to the afterlife. You may dream about a loved one’s death, only to hear the news after waking up that the person in your dreams has really passed away. At other times, you may dream about late loved ones after lots of time has passed since they died. Besides departed people, you may dream about departed pets. Anyone who you’ve been connected to by love may appear in your dreams.
So, what do dreams about the dead mean? That depends on the specifics of your relationships with those who have passed away. However, recording the wonder you recall from your dreams can help you figure out what they mean. If you’ve seen departed loved ones in a regular dream, write down whatever details you can remember as soon as you wake up. If you’ve had a dream visitation, you will remember it all clearly.
One surefire way to interpret your dreams accurately is to ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Invite the Spirit to renew your mind (as Romans 12:2 urges us to do), and then pray about each dream specifically. The Spirit acts as a counselor, and Jesus promises in John 14:26 that the Spirit “will teach you all things.” Through the wonder of dreams of loved ones in heaven, the Spirit may send you messages that can help you find closure, healing, comfort, encouragement, and peace.