What Does It Mean When a Person Dreams of Someone Who Has Been Dead for Years?

Having dreams of those who have died carries multiple meanings. Dreams of dead friends, acquaintances or loved ones can be a reminder that there are unresolved issues and feelings. Repeated dreams of a dead mother, for instance, could be an individual's subconscious reminding him of negative unresolved emotions, such as guilt or anger, which must be dealt with.

Anne Reith, Ph.D., says that loved ones visit the living during sleep because the rational mind is not fully active at that time. Dreams of dead loved ones provide a sense of comfort and allow the subconscious to work through the grieving process. Such dreams reassure the living that the dead are still with them. According to dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, dreams can act as conduits for dead loved ones to communicate with the living. Dreams can, in a way, keep the loved ones alive in the minds and hearts of the living.

Dreams of the dead may also be an unconscious way of dealing with one's fear of dying. This death can be physical or emotional. The emotional death is a representation of a part of life, such as a relationship or an unaccomplished goal, that has ceased to be. This interpretation may indicate how someone feels about his life.