Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, and each person copes with their grief in their own way. Some cry and express their sorrow openly, while others keep their emotions bottled up inside.

It’s not uncommon for people to experience dreams about their deceased loved ones, and these dreams may hold significance. Our dreams are influenced by our subconscious mind, and if you’ve ever dreamt about someone who has passed away, it could be more than just a random occurrence. But do these dreams actually convey messages from the departed?

According to Patrick McNamara, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School, visitation dreams are nightmares that involve deceased individuals. These dreams are believed to be a way for the departed to visit us in our dream state.

McNamara, who shares his thoughts on dreams on Psychology Today, suggests that visitation dreams serve an important purpose. They help us process our pain, grief, and sadness, making it easier for us to cope with our loss.

McNamara himself had a visitation dream after the passing of his parents, and this experience led him to believe that these dreams are evidence of life beyond death. He once wrote, “Now if I, an individual who studied dreams with a skeptical scientific cast of mind, could not shake the conviction that I had just communicated with my dead parents, how much stronger must be the conviction of someone with a less skeptical approach to dreams than me?”

But McNamara is not the only one fascinated by these dreams. Various research studies have been conducted to explore this phenomenon further. For instance, a study published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care in 2014 found that dreams of the deceased occur regularly and can be significant in the process of healing from a loss. These dreams often revolve around memories of the departed, their appearance free from illness, a sense of peace, and sometimes even messages from them.

In 2016, a group of Canadian researchers examined the dreams of 76 middle-aged grieving individuals. Their study revealed that 67.1% of the participants believed that their dreams of the deceased encouraged them to believe in an afterlife. Around 70% described these dreams as “visits,” and 71% felt that these dreams brought them closer to their departed loved ones.

Jennifer E. Shorter, a therapist at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California, has also conducted studies on dreams and grief. In her research, she discovered that visitation dreams often occur shortly before or after the person’s death. Shorter identified four defining characteristics of visitation dreams: the individuals in the dream appear as they did in life but healthier, the departed express that they are well, the message is communicated telepathically, and the dream itself is peaceful and orderly.

In conclusion, dreams about deceased loved ones can hold special meaning. While some may dismiss them as mere fantasies, others find solace in the belief that these dreams offer a connection to the afterlife. Whether you consider them as messages or a way for your mind to process grief, visitation dreams can bring comfort and healing during a difficult time. So the next time you dream of a departed loved one, remember that it may be their way of reaching out to you, even if it’s just in your subconscious.