Dreaming of the Dead: Not as Morbid or New-Age as it Seems…

I have dreamt of my grandmother only twice since her death 15 months ago. This fact surprises me. I thought I would see her frequently in the night, as I am a very active dreamer (yes, and sleep talker and walker, too). Before I began dreaming of her, though, I heard from my grandfather, who has been dead since 1997.

Grandpa dream: He was sitting in their house to the left of the fireplace in the spot where he ALWAYS sat. He looked right at me and said, “No sense in cryin’ about it!” I knew what he meant. She’s dead. You can’t change it.

Grandma dream #1: Within a short time after her death, Grandma was featured prominently in a dream. It was SO lifelike that I felt as if I had really seen and touched her. In the dream she was teaching me how to pronounce some Norwegian word that she wanted me to use in her book. I was having trouble at first, but she helped me get it right. Then she said something like, “You’ll be okay. You’ve got the hang of it.” I gave her a big hug, and she was warm and soft and fully present. I woke up and felt SO disappointed to be awake. NOT that I felt disappointed to learn that I was actually dreaming. It was as if I knew I was dreaming at the time but it was so wonderful that I didn’t want to wake up.

Grandma dream #2: Last night Grandma was in my dream, and it was no big deal. She was just there. It wasn’t as if she figured prominently or I had a big reaction or anything. She was just a part of a dream. I remember thinking while still dreaming that this was interesting having her there without it being a big deal, and I began to think about the meaning of the dream while dreaming it. Then I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness. I can use my dream time to work through important issues, I remember thinking. Now this is a “No, duh” thing to say if you are awake, but in my dream it felt like a true revelation. And all night I kept waking up after each dream feeling so good. This is a distinct switch for me because sometimes I have very bad nightmares and wake up yelling and stuff. For about three years or so, six nights out of seven, I woke up about 45 minutes after falling asleep with a sort of panic attack. So this new thing of waking up feeling that dreams could be my friend, my allies, my helpers…this was a real switch for me.

No, I do not remember my specific insights from last night, but I awoke feeling pretty good, despite the frequent interruptions to my sleeep. I still feel a bit of the excitement of the possibility that dreams can be a help and not something to dread. I wonder what brought about this change? I wonder if it will last? Is there something I can do purposefully to continue down this path?

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