Interpreting Death Dreams

Straight Talk

The Questions:

Two unrelated readers have asked questions on interpreting dreams about death. Though the dreams are totally different, the common theme provides an opportunity to discuss interpretation approaches based on each reader’s current life circumstances.

Since my mother passed away in December of 2005, I’ve had recurring dreams of her funeral. This is, to say the least, very disturbing. Please help me with this if you can. –C. from Baton Rouge, La.


I never have dreamt about my father who died 15 years ago and yesterday I dreamed that he was sitting on a chair in a grey suit with dark sunglasses. When I went up to touch him his head fell off and I yelled; “Dad is dead, tell somebody.” I am so confused as to what this can mean. Please help me…I am going through a divorce currently. –JC from San Antonio, Texas

The Answer
Part 1: Answering the why of the dream
Part 2: Trust your gut

Answering the why of the Dream  (Part 1)

Even though these dreams are different there are some noteworthy commonalities. Both are about a parent who is now deceased. In one, the mother died fairly recently and in the other, the subject is a father who died more than a decade ago. How do we therefore approach interpretation?

For C. of Baton Rouge, the first thing to keep in mind is that the recentness of her mother’s death probably plays a major role in why the dream is recurring. It is not uncommon to work through the grief process at least partially while dreaming. She should not be concerned about this as eventually it will work itself out and the dreams will stop. Still, there is an important question to ask: exactly what is being worked through?

My question for C. is: ask yourself if there are any unresolved issues between you and your mom. This is not a comforting dream; it is one that is “very disturbing.” The emotions attached to the dream are extremely important and should be paid attention to. Is there frustration or anger or unforgiveness or other emotions within the dream itself? All of these things are clues.

For JC in Texas, an important clue is her ending disclosure that she is currently going through a divorce. This is not normal grief process for her dad since the death was so long ago and since it is the first dream she has had about it. I do believe it is probable that there is a different kind of grief involved however.

My question for JC is: what elements of your relationship with your father have been there with your husband? Since you are going through a divorce and that relationship is being “beheaded” or “lopped” off, it is worth seeing if you feel that you are losing a father again.

In the case of the first dream, the events of the past are encroaching on the present and bringing a recurring dream. In the second case, current events are reaching back to a relationship that has been over for fifteen years.

Trust your gut (Part 2)

I have had additional correspondence with both of these dreamers so I happen to know that my questioning hit the mark in both cases. C. in Baton Rouge does have unresolved issues with her mother and JC does feel like she is losing a father figure in her husband through divorce.

Both of these readers actually had an innate sense of the real meaning of their dreams but needed some jogging to be reminded that they knew the truth all along. That is often the case. We do not always trust ourselves or our ability to accurately interpret our own dreams.

Remember that you are nearly always the best interpreter of your own dreams and you probably know more than you think you do. Trust yourself. This is true especially if you pray first and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of the dream to you. After all, it is God who gave the dream and it is him who knows why you had it. He does not want you to be in the dark.

Whether your dream is prophetic or “working something through”, it can still be submitted to the Lord for the final say. He can prompt the right questions in your mind to begin the process of deeper understanding. With understanding may come some next steps. Okay, you dreamed about it; now what do you do about it? Take whatever action God directs until the dream finally disappears; then it has been handled completely.

To all you dreamers out there: sweet dreams and don’t forget to trust your gut!