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What Does It Mean to Dream of Dead People You Once Knew?

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Dreaming about dead people can be terrifying or reassuring depending on what happens in the dream. The situations and events in the dream can also help you to determine what the dream means. On its own, dreaming about someone who has passed away does not mean anything. It is what happens in the dream and how you feel in the dream that truly determines its meaning.

The first thing that you should do is look at what happens in the dream. Is the person trying to give you a message? Are they helping you in some way? If the individual is trying to help you in the dream, it may show that you wish that someone was there to give you support in real life. Meanwhile, getting a message from a loved one in your dream could mean that you miss getting their advice or input in real life. It could also mean that you wish you could get a message about where they have gone and how they are doing.

Death is a preoccupation for many people. Fearing death is normal. Because of this, it is quite common to dream about a loved one who has died. You may be coming to terms with your own humanity and death, so your subconscious mind is preoccupied by the idea of death and those who have died.

On a more basic level, dreaming about someone who has died could just mean that you miss being around your loved ones and wish that he or she was still near you. You no longer get to talk to them every day, so your subconscious mind filled the gap by giving you dreams about that person.

Think About the Feelings in the Dream

Often, there are people who seem to represent a certain feeling for us. For example, a manipulative, micromanaging boss may represent feelings of anger, stress or depression. If he or she appears in the dream, it could mean that you are experiencing these feelings in real life. In comparison, a grandmother or mother may have made you feel loved and protected. Seeing them in a dream could mean that you want those same types of feelings in your life. You may not feel like there is anyone to protect you in real life, so you dreamed that your loved one was there and protecting you.

Your dream can mean a variety of different things based on who it is an what happens. You may miss the advice of your father or the protection of a grandmother who passed away. You may miss the fun and passion represented by your late husband or wife. By thinking through how you felt when you were around that person, you can figure out the types of feelings your subconscious wants or is currently feeling.



Dealing With Your Feelings

Even if it has been years since a loved one passed on, you may still dream about them. Most people do not get over a death overnight. It can takes months, years or decades to heal. Even if you think that you have moved on, a part of you may still feel guilty or angry about their death. Your dreams about dead people you once knew are probably stemming from these feelings. As you try to come to terms with their death, you continue to dream about them over and over again.

In general, this type of dream normally just represents a part of your life that is gone. It may show that the feelings associated with the person are gone, or it may show that you miss having that person in your life.

Sometimes, you have these dreams months or years after you last thought of that person. This is perfectly normal. The simple explanation for this is that you still have memories of that person, so your subconscious mind will sometimes cause these memories to reoccur in your dreams. There is also an alternative explanation. If the last time you felt hopeless and depressed was when your father died, then feeling hopeless or depressed may cause memories of your father to reappear. Often, people dream about a loved one who passed away years ago when someone else close to them dies. This is because many of the same feelings of despair or grief are brought up once again.

Accepting Death

Initially, you may not accept that your loved one has passed away. While you logically know that they are gone, your heart does not care or listen to logic. You may dream about them alive and happy because that is how you still feel about them. If you dream that they are dead in your dream or that your dream self knows that they have moved on, then it indicates that you are finally coming to terms with their death and accept that they are no longer a part of this existence.

Death is often a sign of transformation or change, so some of your dreams could involve a change in your life. You may have a promotion at work, a new baby or some other major change. If you dream that someone is dying, this could be why. Sometimes, you may also have this type of dream if you wish your loved one could see the transformation. You wish your mother was there to see your new baby or your career progress, so you dream about her again at night.



It can be traumatic to dream about someone you loved who died. At first, you may wake up sweating or in a panic. Don’t worry—this type of dream is perfectly normal. If you find yourself feeling afraid in your dream, try talking to your loved one. Your subconscious may be trying to nudge you to work through your feelings, so this person keeps appearing. If this is the case, the dreams may keep happening until you face your feelings, come to terms with your loss and talk to your loved one in the dream.

98 COMMENTS

  1. Over the last few months I have had dreams of different people in my life who have passes away. This week was the most active. The first dream was of my Mother’s ex-husband. I was not raised by him, do not know him well, and have had limited involvement in his life. I was shopping in the grocery store, when two people walked up to me. A man and a woman who looked homeless. The woman I had never seen before. The man was my mother’s ex. A store clerk looked at me with concern and I signaled it was ok. Then her ex whispered in my ear to take care of my mother, that I needed to call her because she had a cold. Then both my mother’s ex and his female companion in my dream started tickling me. Until I woke up.
    I had a dream the next night of a woman who passed away from dementia and a broken hip. She had many health problems in her life and was a little socially off. She was kind enough to let me stay with her for a period of time in my life. In my dream I was back in her house. She appeared in a beautiful gown. She was so youthful and beautiful. She said, “You never thought I could be so beautiful did you?” The last time I saw her, she didn’t remember me. In my dream I was able to thank her for her kindness. The difference between the two dreams was she seemed healed and renewed like she came from Heaven to visit me. In the first dream, it was dark and grainy. My Mother’s ex looked homeless. Exactly how he died. Can you please explain these dreams? Thank you.

    • These dreams are reflections of your previous emotional and social connections. Something in your waking life may have triggered these dreams. Your memories and influences with these people likely manifested in these dreams. Ensure that your actions are filled with kindness and compassion. This will ensure that positive people will enter into your life. Have a great day, Mellie!

  2. My dad was an addict. He died of an overdose, at least that is what we are going on right now with what was found around him and on him when he died. I hadn’t really spoke to him for a couple weeks before this happened bc I was trying to show tough love like everyone said to do. I would help him if he needed it food wise and such but nothing more if he needed it but he kept his distance and never bothered me or asked for help. I had a dream the night before last and he was alive, writing stuff down on a notebook and I was yelling at him that i hates him. I don’t hate him though, he was/is my dad. I don’t believe he was alone when he died for more than one reason. I rack my brain daily trying to put the pieces together the few hours before she died leading up to his death and I’m just stuck. I want to continue to dream about him bc I want to see him but I don’t want the dreams being hurtful. I know I can’t control my dreams but the hurtful and hateful dreams I can’t take bc it’s heartbreaking.

    • Your dreams are reflections of your thoughts and feelings. You are concerned that your negative feelings are harmful. Allow those feelings to fade. You have looked inward and determined that you would prefer to act with kindness and compassion. This dream has influenced you in this way. Share your positive energy with the world and with your memory of your late father. Have a great day, Nikki!

  3. My husband passed away unexpectedly in 2012. I witness the whole thing. I always dream of him but I can’t ever find him. For instance I dreamt about him last night but I didn’t have his oh number to call him and I was asking everyone if they could help me locate him. No one would help me.

    • This dream is a reflection of your emotional connection with your late husband. It is possible that you feel as though you want to communicate with him again. Other people in your life may have recovered quicker, and they may not fully understand your feelings. Allow this dream to influence you to treat everyone in your life with positive energy. Have a great day, Veronica!

  4. I had a junior when i was in highschool. We were close during the schoold days. But lost contact for few years. Then i heard he passed away in 2015. Yesterday, He came to me in my dream and asking for advice. What he should really do with his life because its hard to decide. And me there telling him he should do wtver that makes him feel good. What does it really mean. Its bugging me out

      • Your reaction in your dream is a positive reflection of your thoughts and feelings. This dream is a manifestation of your previous relationship with your late friend. Allow this dream to continue to influence you to share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life. It is possible that your knowledge of his birthday during his life may have influenced this dream as well. Have a great day, Alan!

    • Your reaction in your dream is a positive reflection of your thoughts and feelings. This dream is a manifestation of your previous relationship with your late friend. Allow this dream to continue to influence you to share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life. Have a great day, Alan!

  5. I had a dream of a friend who died about 5 years ago. I grew up with him, he was kind of a jerk to me but I didn’t take it seriously, I knew he didn’t mean anything by it. As we grew older, we got along better. Haven’t thought about him in some time now. Weird dream, still a bit messed up from it.

    • This dream is a reflection of your emotional connection with your late friend. Something in your life may have influenced this dream. Allow this dream to influence you to share your positive energy with the world. This will honor his memory. Have a great day, Britt!

  6. At 19 I had an intense fun and exciting love relationship with a boyfriend, about 6 months into it, it wasnt so wonderful anymore as he became jealous, oppressive,deceitful. I felt very manipulated, fooled and hurt as well as yearned for what we had.I broke up w/him and never saw him again. It was one of the most emotional periods of my entire life and I learned much about myself etc. A few months ago I learned he died at age 45 (im 52)I was shocked. He died of a condition that often is caused by alcoholism. I suspected he was alcoholic few months into dating. I felt compelled to reach out to his mother, she responded. I loved her then and wanted to give condolences. SHe invited me to a fundraiser she has in his memory (she always loved me) and even told me after I reached out to her she had always hoped her son would marry me. Its sweet, but its been30 years…not sure how I feel about connecting w/her again. Though…I was never connected to my own mother. Anyway, I had a vivid dream in which this boyfriend shares with me that he staged his death so that people would honor and celebrate him, I was shocked and those same feelings of betrayal came about in the dream…and then he explained that he had a mental illness, even was hospitalized, like he was trying to be honest with me. Itold him I was married w/3 grown kids in the dream, he said he had been married and had child. I was perplexed in the dream….sort of how I felt about him when our dating transitioned from a dream to a painful nightmare. Not sure why after 30 years I would be thinking about him so much since I learned he died.

    • This dream is a reflection of the strong and formative emotional connection that the two of you have shared. He has passed and you may feel as though you want to visit his mother. Determine if you want to nourish this relationship. You are married, so you will also find benefit in focusing your attention on your family. Take whatever actions you feel are appropriate. Have a great day, Leann!

  7. My boyfriend passed away 7 years ago from cancer. I have only ever had maybe 3 dreams about him since then. Last night he appeared in my dream for the first time in nearly four years. He looked the exact same. He was showing me this new house that his parent moved into after he died. The house was over looking a beautiful forest where you could hear birds chirping. He started to tell me how his parents and his brother are doing. He hugged and started to walk and talk- and then, as dreams do, it got weird. My boyfriend was now gone and All of a sudden the dream was about finding proof that this lady murdered someone in that same home. (My late boyfriends family no longer lived there for some reason at this point in the dream). It was very vivid. I ended up at the end of the dream finding a body of a man who was stuffed in the garage and I was going to use that as proof to the police that the owner of the home was a murderer…I used a series of garage tools to get the body out of the box it was in.. then, I looked down in my hands and realized the tools I was using were made of bones… my boyfriends bones. This was the very last scene I remember before waking up… this dream was so strange and I have NO IDEA what it means.

    • Your dreams about your late boyfriend are manifestations of your emotional connection with him. The death of the person in your late boyfriend’s previous home is likely a reflection of your knowledge of death and emotions associated with that house. Allow the negative aspects of these dreams to fade. Fill you actions with kindness and compassion and you will find that your dreams become more positive and peaceful. Have a great day, Natalie!

  8. I had dream about my Ex’s dead Ex and she was happy In my dream what does this mean??!! I do miss ex so much but why would his dead girlfriend be in my dream

    • There are a variety of reasons for why this person appeared in your dream. It is likely caused by the emotional connection that you have with your ex. Perhaps something in your life caused you to this about your ex’s ex. If this person appears in your dreams in the future, then speak with her about why she is present in your dream. Have a great day, MNK!

  9. I had dream about my Ex’s dead Ex and she was happy In my dream what does this mean??!! I do miss ex so much but why would his dead girlfriend be in my dream

    • There are a variety of reasons for why this person appeared in your dream. It is likely caused by the emotional connection that you have with your ex. Perhaps something in your life caused you to this about your ex’s ex. If this person appears in your dreams in the future, then speak with her about why she is present in your dream. Have a great day, MNK!

  10. It’s been almost 1 year since my friend chose to end his life. We had something special that only me and him knew about and now he’s gone and almost every night I dream of him I don’t know what it means, I rememeber feeling love but being cold but also feeling guilty and each day when I wake up it send myself crazy trying to figure out what these dreams mean. It’s starting to mess with my head I don’t know what to do

    • This dream is a reflection of your strong emotional connection with your late friend. Your confusion and negative feelings are caused by his decision to end his life. However, you will find great benefit in acting with kindness and compassion. This will honor his memory and ensure that you feel more positive and happy. Have a great day, Stephanie!

  11. I dreamt that my dead patient who died in 2013, which was like a mother n sister to me went clothing shopping. Colorful n all types, with lots of people. She got lost in the crowd. I couldn’t find her. What does it mean? I searched, her son joined me n there were lots of buildings searching for her.

    • This dream is a reflection of your social and emotional connection with your late patient. Her being lost in the crown is a reflection of your inability to communicate with you. You are aware that her son has been emotionally influenced by her passing as well. Share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life. This will honor her memory. Have a great day, Doreen!

  12. Just lastnight I had a dream about a guy I used to talk to. He died in a car accident some years back. In my dream he just looked at me and smiled. I looked back to see if it was really him and he was gone. What does this mean ?

    • This dream is a reflection of your emotional and social connection that you had with your late friend. His positive behavior in your dream is a manifestation of your knowledge of his behaviors. Ensure that this dream guides you to share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life. This will bring positive people and energy into your life. Have a great day, Arianna!

  13. Last night I dreamt about my grandmother who about a month ago and i dreamt that she was coloring with me and at the end she said she had to go because she was tired. She was normally in a wheelchair but this time she just got up and went to the kitchen I followed but before I saw her she was gone. I woke up crying. What does this mean?

    • This dream is a reflection of your strong emotional connection with your late grandmother. Your shared activities are reflections of your relationship during her life. Her disappearance is a sign that you are aware that she has passed. Share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life, as this will honor her memory. Have a great day, Sammi!

  14. I was dreaming about straight dead people like everyone that I know that’s passed away and for some reason I felt so comfortable … I wonder what that means?

    • This dream may be a reflection of your strong emotional connections with the people who have been in your life. You are comfortable with death and you are aware that death is part of a natural cycle. Ensure that this dream guides you to maintain a stable mindset and a positive outlook. Share your kindness and compassion with everyone in your life. Have a great day, Sergio!

  15. last night I dreamt of my mother who passed away 5 months ago, in the dream she was alive but towards the end I spoke to her and said your not real and she agreed with me nodding that we both new she was dead. I am finding it hard to accept her passing as she was like my best friend who I saw almost everyday, what does this mean?

    • Your dream is a reflection of your emotional connection with your late mother. You are aware that she has passed. You have accepted her passing, and you are aware that you can honor her memory by sharing your kindness and compassion with the world. This is a positive dream that will guide you to act in this manner. Have a great day, Holly!

  16. 2 nights ago i saw a girl who i had STRONG feelings for in a dream. She committed suicide almost 3 years ago to the day. The night she died, she texted me and asked me to go away with her, but we had to leave that night, she even said she would foot the bill. I told her i couldnt go and it wasnt right, because she was an ex of a friend of mine. Now EVERY fiber in me wanted to say yes, i was falling for her fast, but i felt guilty. She hung herself that night. Ive been devastated since. After 6 months i had to seek help, i couldnt take it anymore. I went to support groups and over time it helped. I always TRIED to dream about her so i could tell her how i really felt, but never once did i see her in a dream. 2 nights ago was the 1st time. She was sitting at a picnic table, looking like she always did, beautiful. And there was some small talk. Then it hit me that she was dead, i asked her how shes been, and instantly the make up around her eyes turned dark black, not in a scary way but a sad way, and i remember she said she was okay now, and we talked longer but i cant remember what was said, but i got the feeling she wasnt okay, that she was either still in pain, or was going through some type of punishment. Her suicide has scarred me beyond repair. My guilt will never fully go away. I just hope she knows how strong and how fast my feeling grew for her. When id hear her name, my legs litterally went weak. Thank you for your time.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences with your late close friend. This dream is a manifestation of your awareness of her emotional state and your understanding of your experiences. Allow this dream to influence you in a positive direction. Her decision was her decision alone, and your mind has made you aware of this understanding. Share your kindness and compassion with the world, as this will honor her memory. Have a great day, Scott!

  17. Last night I had a dream about one of my best friends that passed away about three years ago but there was nothing wierd about it we were hanging put like old times just drinking having a good time

    • The emotional and social connection that you shared with your friend may have caused this dream to manifest. The behaviors that each of you took in your dream is an indication that you have fond memories of this person. This is a positive dream that can guide you in a positive direction. You will honor the memory of your friend by sharing your kindness and compassion with the world. Have a great day, Cris!

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