Post Death Dreams & Signs: Are They Real Or Imagined?


Many mourners I counsel go through periods of deep yearning to experience the closeness or presence of the loved one who died.  Some of them share with me unique experiences that cause them to feel that closeness or to receive what they perceive are messages from the deceased. The experiences they have shared with me fall into these types:

  • Dreams about or including their loved one. These dreams are as individualized as the unique grief of the mourner sharing them with me. Some are troubling dreams leaving the dreamer in emotional turmoil or full of questions. Some are comforting leaving the dreamer feeling they have received the gift of their loved one's presence for one last time.
  • Visitations by their loved one. Some mourners are able to describe detailed, very realistic physical post death visits by their loved ones. Often the visitation includes the message from the deceased that they are all right and not to worry about them. Others describe less visibly clear visits that are comforting but all too brief and often with no apparent purpose.
  • Signs or messages from their loved one.  Other mourners tell stories of feeling the person's presence or touch or smelling fragrances peculiar to the loved one like a cologne, aftershave or product they used. Other signs from the loved one reported can be finding objects or seeing animals connected with past experiences or memories of the loved one.

Mourners ask me:

  • Are these events real or am I just imagining them because I am obsessed with experiencing the loved one's presence again? Of course I can't tell them if the experiences were real or imagined. But does that really matter? Just accept these events or experiences as special gifts in grief, especially if they bring comfort and consolation when you're hurting.
  • How come others have these experiences and I don't? No one knows why some mourners have these post death experiences in their grief and others don't. Continue to do your mourning in a healthy way and live a good life to honor the memory of your loved one. Your post death gifts and blessings of comfort will come in the healing you experience in your grief.

Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or

The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” on

Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX