I think very few of those who have lost their beloved have failed to receive some sign or message from them in dreams, and often it is of deep biding and consolation. – William Dean Howells

     Night-time dreams have been a significant part of my life since I was a small child. As I write this, I’m in the fourth week of teaching a dream course with a passionate group of dreamers. Each week, I find great joy in hearing their dreams as we delve together into a powerful and healing process called “Dream Tending.” In this unique manner of tending to dream, a healing we call “medicine” reveals itself through the dream.

Earlier this morning, I had such a dream. My father, who passed away ten years ago, appeared in what is called a reassurance dream. This is one of the four different kinds of healing dreams that can occur with the deceased: the message dream, the visitation dream, the reassurance dream and the trauma dream. My father, sensing I could use some comfort right now, came during dream time so he could give me a big hug. I was so happy to see him. He gently reminded me that he couldn’t stay long, but that he was there for me. He recognized that it has been particularly painful with a family member who is struggling with some mental and emotional disorders and that I was not alone. I awoke feeling comforted, reassured and strengthened by his presence.

Dreams like this one are immensely healing. They have the power to make sorrow less painful, to repair and restore harmony and to bring a sense of wholeness into our lives. Further, visitations such as the one I experienced are quite common. Sometimes they occur when we are grieving the loss of a loved one and the loved one appears to reassure us that they are okay. Other times, we may be seeking some guidance about an issue and the deceased delivers an important message.

If you have ever been visited by a loved one who is now deceased, remember that it is a powerful gift. There is always something of value that you can be gained from the dream. Here are some tips on how you can heal, grow and evolve from such dreams:

1. Write the dream down. Notice the landscape. (Landscapes are frequently overlooked.) Are you indoors? Outdoors? Daytime? Nighttime? What do you see, smell, hear or touch?

2. Share your dream with someone you trust. By sharing the dream, you will re-experience the positive qualities that you felt during the dream. I am very blessed to have a life partner that I can share my dreams with every morning. As we walk our dog, we tell each other any dreams–even “snippets”–that we remember from the night before.  By sharing my dream with a loved one, I have been able to retain the feeling of comfort and will recall the feeling whenever I need it in the future.

3. Select a tangible dream image that stands out in the dream. Make this image visible in your daily life. You will feel the positive effect of the dream as you keep the image nearby. For example, one dreamer I worked with remembered an orange scarf that her deceased mother wore during a visitation dream. The dreamer went and bought an orange scarf and kept it nearby. It became her “touchstone” and empowered her whenever she was in doubt or felt anxiety in her waking life.

Our psyche never stops dreaming. We are all dream keepers, whether we focus on night-time dreams or day dreams. May your dreams remain alive and gently awaken you as you record them, share them and let them reveal the gifts they hold for you.


  1. Laura, Thanks for sharing this healing dream. I recall a girl friend, about a year after her Dad died, told me she dreamt about him. In the dream, he visited her while she was gardening. She shared that she initially wanted to tell him everything that was going on but suddenly that didn’t seem so important. Just seeing him and feeling his presence brought her great comfort. June

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