“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.”

Eugene Ionesco, Playwright

Your dreams are an innate gift. They possess the ability to open the sacred dream doorways to the divine. If you lost someone you care about, the opportunity to see them again in your dreams is comforting. These are called visitation dreams and they can reconnect you with your deceased loved ones who miss you as much as you miss them.1 Lucid dreams within visitation dreams can make you wonder if you are still dreaming while hugging a loved one who has passed.3 Both types have significant therapeutic value in healing grief and loss. 

Bereavement is part of being human. Few make it through life without having to cope with the loss of a loved one, and that loss can be extremely distressing, especially during the holidays. The grieving process is different for everyone and COVID has brought us even closer to this truth. Whether it is a mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, or a beloved distant family member, grief from their death is emotionally painful and can last for years. 

Sometimes sleep is the antidote to emotional pain. Death is the closing of one door while opening another; rather than the end, it is a new beginning. Dreams are the doorway between the realms of the living and the dead, and are just one way passed loved ones communicate and reassure us that everything will be fine. 

How often have you heard someone say something like, ‘I dreamed of my mother last night and it was so real, I forgot she was no longer with us and hugged her. I was so happy to see her.’ In most dream visitation cases, it does not feel like the typical run-of-the-mill dream. Grief can cause these, what we call, spontaneous lucid dreams.3 They are characterized by the realization that the currently perceived reality is, in fact, a dream. 

Spontaneous visitation dreams can be a powerful experience for people who do not consider themselves dreamers, especially if they experience a lucid dream, which can happen suddenly and is described as feeling like you have awakened in your dream while still dreaming. 

If visitation dreams are troublesome, an effective treatment for ‘grief-related sleep disturbances’ is a course of hypnotics.2 This is becoming more commonly prescribed by general practitioners as the medical community is waking up to the power of dreams. 

When you embrace grief through visitation dreams, you hold a love that transcends time and space. It is one of the dreams that allow sacred dream doors to open both ways into the realms of the living and the deceased. Love is something you can take with you to the other side and can return within dreams to help you rejoin life and comfort loved ones. 

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 information, visit www.KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com.

References: 1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dream-catcher/201110/visitation-dreams; 2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2826218/; 3) http://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2014-25747-007

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