my parents' funeral

Hi Jane—

Dreams of the deceased returning to life are common among survivors, and reflect efforts to grapple with the reality of their passing. Your dreams also include some of the usual confusion of the dream state. Even when dreams give us obvious clues that we must be dreaming (your parents crawl out of their coffins), we still can fail to recognize the dream!

The memory of your parents is on your mind, which is the meaning of their presence in your dreams. Although you are happy to see them, you also know they will "die again." The meaning of this "second death" is that you know your parents are not really alive, and that they will not be coming back to life.

Because these dreams are recurring, I encourage you to understand them as follows:

First, recognize that it is normal to dream about the deceased. Your dreams are not signs that your parents are not resting in peace, or that they were unhappy with their funeral service, or that they are trying to contact you. Instead, they simply reflect your natural feelings and emotions as you absorb their missed presence into your everyday life.

Second, because the dream is recurring, I encourage you to try, next time you have it, to recognize that you are dreaming. This will spare you the confusion of worrying about your parents and their funeral arrangements, and it will allow you to enjoy your visit with their memory in the dream state. If you are able to recognize that you are dreaming, you may be able to ask questions and receive answers that give you a sense of closure in the relationship.

I look forward to hearing back from you, to learn if you are successful identifying your dreams.

Dear Dream Doctor—

Call me crazy or call it power of suggestion, but the next night after reading this I had a dream where I did talk to them. They were still out of their caskets and alive, but we discussed that and I was able to say good-bye like I would have liked to. When I woke up I had such a sense of peace and closure.

I do think the dreams are all about us—the ones that are dreaming—rather than about our parents trying to tell us something. Just another way for the subconscious to help us deal with the overwhelming things in our life. Thanks so much for your help!

Hi Jane—

Congratulations on using your dreams so effectively. You have given your parent's passing the attention it was asking for (difficult as it may be to explore the area) and you have been rewarded with good feelings—not only about your parents, but also about your ability to respond to your inner voice. Success!

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