Dreaming of the dead

Today marks nine months since my mom died. It’s hard to believe that I’m already coming up on the one-year anniversary.

Certainly, life marches forward and I have been propelled forward with it, but I still think of my mother daily, and often, it is about those last tough years when she battled illness, and not of the better times.



I’m writing essays about the caregiving experience so it doesn’t surprise me that these thoughts are in my head. This week, I had a vivid dream about Mom, in which she was very much alive. I first saw her in a bathtub, and it was a bit scary for a moment, a la that scene from The Shining. But the dream didn’t take a nightmarish turn after that. Mom just kept popping up, alive and well, and I was puzzled and felt the need to keep her hidden.

I read a bit about what a tub can symbolize in a dream, and a lot of it made sense. One site said that it can symbolize emotional instability, vulnerability and the ups and downs of life. A bath can also symbolize a cleansing, both literally and figuratively.

Another major takeaway from the bathtub symbol in dreams is that it means one needs to let go of a burden they have been carrying. It can mean the need to shake off troubles and relax.

Hmm, okay subconscious mind, I get the hint! I’m going on a week’s vacation soon.

I’d be curious to know about any significant dreams you’ve had while grieving, or any dreams you’ve had about dead relatives. I find dream analysis fascinating.


Filed under Memories

5 responses to “Dreaming of the dead

  1. Thank you for sharing. The loss is great and time does march by quickly, yet they never really leave us. Mom used to come to me in dreams a lot before she passed. Now it’s ever so often, but they are not as vivid.

  2. My mother is still with us, but in the nursing home and only partially “there”. I visit her frequently, but she does not enter my dreams. I wonder if it is because I do not worry for her anymore and she does not wield the force of personality that she once did.

  3. So glad you are paying attention to your subconscious, Joy. I haven’t lost a parent yet. I know it must be tough to let go of those last harsh months of her life, especially if you’re writing about it.

    I haven’t lost a parent yet. My mom is sick though, and since we’ve moved back, have been to the ER for her a few times already. But, to answer your question, and I know it’s not the same as losing a parent, but I lost the closest love I had in 2009, my dog, I had lots of dreams. He pretty much filled my world when we got him as a puppy because we couldn’t have children. So his loss was huge. I had lots of dreams where he was in danger, and I couldn’t save him. The worst nightmare was when he was drowning in a lake and I couldn’t get to him.

    However, in between the nightmares, I had a few dream-visits from him. Not everyone believes in such things, but I could tell when they were so vivid and felt like I was awake, that he’d come to tell me to let it go and he was okay. I think for the first year at least, those last weeks and days worry us, make us question ourselves, and so on.

    So glad to hear you are taking a vacation. Bless you and take it easy.

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