Losing a loved one is devastating, and how you deal with your sorrow is entirely up to you. Some cry a lot, while others remain silent and shrink inside themselves.

Others try to avoid the matter or behave indifferently. But there is one trait that many people share: experiencing dreams about deceased loved ones. Our subconscious is in charge of what we dream at night, and if you’ve ever dreamed about a departed person, it may have importance.

So, do dreams convey messages from deceased loved ones?


Visitation dreams, according to Patrick McNamara, associate Professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School, are nightmares involving deceased persons. It signifies that the departed individual is visiting you in your dream, or, as McNamara puts it, bereaved dreams in which the dead appear to the bereaved in dreams and seem to be very much alive.

The 67-year-old researcher blogs at Psychology Today under the pen name Dream Catcher. McNamara has frequently expressed his opinions and discoveries concerning dreams and their importance throughout the years. And, as per him, visitation dreams typically have a rational reason.

They assist you in dealing with your pain, loss, and sadness.

In one of his blog articles, he discusses a dream he experienced after his parents died. The experience was a visitation dream, and McNamara started to claim that these dreams were evidence of life beyond death.

In McNamara words, “Now if I, an individual who studied dreams with a skeptical scientific cast of mind, could not shake the conviction that I had just communicated with my dead parents, how much stronger must be the conviction of someone with a less skeptical approach to dreams than me?”


Patrick McNamara isn’t the only one who is fascinated by these dreams; various research have been conducted to delve deeper into this phenomena.

The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care conducted a research in 2014 that looked at the influence of mourning dreams. According to the study, dreams of the deceased happen regularly, may be very important, and help further recover from a loss.

Previous memories or experiences, the deceased free of disease, recollections of the deceased’s illness or time of death, the deceased in the hereafter seeming well, contented, and at peace, as well as the departed sending a message were among the themes in the dreams.

In 2016, a group of Canadian researchers examined the dreams of 76 middle-aged grieving people. According to the study, 67.1% of the grieving sample reported that their departed loved one’s dreams encouraged them to believe in an afterlife. Approximately 70% described their dreams of the deceased as “visits,” and 71% stated that their dreams of the deceased made them feel closer to the departed.


Jennifer E. Shorter, a therapist at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California, has also conducted studies on our brains and what we dream.

She states in her research, Visitation Dreams in Grieving Individuals: A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Relationship Between Dreams and the Grieving, that it is unclear how many people have visitation dreams.

However, it might occur shortly before or after a person’s death. Her study has led her to the conclusion that four criteria define a visitation dream:

  1. The folks in your visitation dream appear to be the same as they were while they were living, albeit healthier or younger.
  2. The departed frequently expresses how they are today, for instance, that they are fine.
  3. The message in the dream is experienced telepathically rather than physically.
  4. The dream is frequently quiet and orderly, even harmonizing.