When someone you care about who’s passed over appears in one of your dreams, it’s a singular experience, one that fills you with love and gives you another piece of the Afterlife puzzle.

In the past 15 years, I’ve been fortunate to receive two distinct visitation dreams. Through my experience and researching others’ experiences, I’ve found our dear departed ones come to us while we sleep for primarily 3 reasons:

  • They want to give us a message. When my crossed over grandfather came to me, he imparted clear instructions: I was to travel to Texas to tell my grandmother she needed to go to him. In her mid-nineties, my grandma, being mainly confined to bed or the den recliner, suffered poor quality of life. This “dream” occurred twice and both times I told him I couldn’t go. A short time later, I received word that my grandfather’s sister—my dear Aunt Ruby—was dying and she requested to see me (at the same town my grandmother lived in) one more time. While visiting with my grandmother, I told her what her husband had said. She crossed over about a month later.
  • They want to reassure us. It’s common for them to tell us they’re well, that we did our best or they deliver other messages to provide validation or give us peace. Several years ago, I had another dream, this one featuring a family member who I believed was alive. People crowded around me to the point where I became claustrophobic. And every face was blurred—except for his, which was sharp with detail. Telepathically, he sent one thought to me: “You are right about the Afterlife.” Around noon the next day, I learned he transitioned to heaven the evening before.
  • They want us to know they still love us. In slumber, our relaxed states are more receptive to spirit messages. Our loved ones can use this opportunity to convey their devotion to us, especially if we are feeling particularly low. They might declare that their love endures and that we’re still important to them.
Thunderheads building in the Sweetwater Range, Nevada.

Thunderheads building in the Sweetwater Range, Nevada.

How do you know if you’ve had a visitation dream?

  • It’s different from common ones in that we feel conscious, awake and alert.
  • You’ll remember many details when you arise; most people can recall them for years.
  • Your senses are engaged and heightened. You may feel a touch or smell a scent more intensely than normal.
  • Visually, it is remarkable. My grandfather’s dream was startling in that everything was in distinct shades of gray and black (some I didn’t realize existed). Usually, I dream in color. My other dream seemed more than three dimensional.
  • An overwhelming sensation of love, support or solace infuses the communication.

While combing the web for details that were similar to my experiences, I found this blog entry on PsychologyToday.com by Patrick McNamara, Ph.D., who cited his own personal experiences with this phenomenon as well as a study conducted by Jennifer E. Shoreter from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. Dr. McNamara wrote, “The dream structure was not disorganized or bizarre. Instead visitation dreams are typically clear, vivid, intense and are experienced as real visits when the dreamer awakens. The dreamer is always changed by the experience. There is resolution of the grieving process and/or a wider spiritual perspective.”

To me, this is another way we are shown how love endures and our connection with others remain strong even after the physical shell has died.

Read about others’ experiences with dream visitations.