When a loved one dies, the emotional devastation can leave us with a strong desire to see them one more time. We want a second chance to say things we didn’t share. Regret can feel like a clamp around our hearts. What if we can still connect with our loved ones in visitation dreams?
Visitation dreams are also known as dreams of the bereaved.1 Research by Canadian investigators of 76 bereaved individuals published in the International Journal of Dream Research2 found that 67.1 percent of the bereaved stated visitation dreams helped them believe more in an afterlife; 68.4 percent characterized their dreams of the deceased as actual “visitations” and 70.9 percent reported dreams of the dead helped them feel more connected with the deceased.
Radiologist Dr. Larry Burk of Duke University Medical Center researched dreams that diagnosed illnesses which were later validated by pathology reports. His published results stated many of the patients described having reassuring life-like visitation dreams.3
Have you had a dream that made you sit up in bed and say, “Wow! That was what I needed. Seeing my love again healed my heart”?
Well, I had just such a dream. Before going to sleep, I had set an intention to see my best friend who had died of leukemia. We were tennis partners, our husbands played tennis together, and we vacationed in exotic places like the British West Indies between my cancer treatments. (Yes, I am a three-time breast cancer survivor whose dreams diagnosed her illness missed by medical tests.) I never believed I would outlive her. To protect her privacy, I named her Linda in this article.
When she died, a piece of me died, too. My grief was physically tangible and suffocated me like a heavy wet blanket.
Months passed. I longed to see her again to know how she was doing. The idea, “she is in a better place with deceased loved ones,” left me empty. Was Linda happier now? Did she miss me, too? Heck, did she even remember me?
So, I set my intention before bed to see Linda in my dreams. Yes, I was that desperate. During a dream, Linda walked up and said, “Wanna get a drink?” It felt so natural I didn’t wake from my sleep. We sat in a classy restaurant and ordered martinis, just like old times. But, when our drinks arrived, her martini only had thinly sliced carrots and celery in a glass with no liquid. “Oh, I don’t drink anymore,” she said, “but I wanted to see you, too.” I awoke happy.
Linda’s husband later told me she had given up alcohol during her treatments.
Was this a dream or reality?
Setting a dream intention is easy. Write it on a piece of paper and place it under your pillow and “sleep on it.” When someone we love dies, it can feel like withdrawal. There is comfort in the knowledge they are only a dream away and that love never dies.
Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos of Rancho Mirage is a survivor, author, dream expert, speaker, TV/radio host/producer and has been featured on Dr. Oz and The Doctors. For more visit www.KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com.
1) Psychology Today; Visitation Dreams II: Dreams of the Bereaved https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dream-catcher/201806/visitation-dreams-ii-dreams-the-bereaved;
2) Black, DeCicco, Seeley, Murkar, Black, & Fox International Journal of Dream Research Volume 9, No. 2: 2016). https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/IJoDR/article/view/28117;
3) Warning Dreams Preceding the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer: A Survey of the Most Important Characteristics EXPLORE The Journal of Science and Healing 11(3) · February 2015, urk, Larry DOI: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.02.008