I’ve been researching and reporting on after-death communication in dreams since 2006. These are dreams in which a deceased person appears, and a conversation occurs. These provocative experiences may not be dreams at all, but dream-related visions. Dreamers often awaken with a felt-sense that the visit really happened. These experiences are described as “more real” than dreams.

The question I’m asked most often these days might surprise you. “Why can’t I dream about my loved one? I’ve asked that she visit me in a dream, and it never happens.” Here are a few thoughts to consider around the question of who gets contacted and who does not.

Unfamiliarity breeds amnesia: My research suggests that at least 10% of the population has after-death communication (or ADC) dreams. I suspect the actual number is much higher (more like 50%), but that for a variety of reasons these experiences are seldom recalled.

Interrupted dreams are hard to remember: Many ADCs occur in the midst of a dream-in-progress. The deceased  barges into a dream sequence, conveys their message, and then bloops out again, often with the “regular” dream then resuming. These interrupted dreams can make it harder to consciously remember the visit, because we remember the main dream instead of the visit.

It’s not as easy as it looks on TV: According to messages from folks on the other side who have apparently been able to get through in dreams, the process is not an automatic one, and not everyone can make it work. There is a difference in frequencies between our world and the next, and our dreaming process does not always happen in such a way that they can pop in. Some dreamers have a “better bandwidth” for visitation dreams, and this is why some family members will hear from the departed while others do not, (and can feel very left out). They do not come through to a specific person (necessarily) because they love that person the most, but rather because it was possible to actually get through to that person.

Get past the idea of omnipotence: There is a notion that everything to do with telepathy, with survival of death, with intuition or the paranormal should be flawless, free from error or effort, that non-physical events are clear, easy and controllable at will. That does not appear to be the case. When we begin to let go of this myth of perfection, of control, we open ourselves up to the richness of the mysteries that can and will unfold in our experience.


If we hope to hear from a loved one in a dream, the best we can do is optimize the potential for it to happen, and for it to be remembered.

Things to do:

1. Talk to the departed in your mind. Keep a light perspective, inviting them to visit or give you a sign, but try not to be desperate or overwrought. If you are in the throes of early grief, you may need to wait and go through your process a while before this will work.

2. Pray for them. Whether you hear from them or not, your prayers help them and help you.

3. Practice spiritual courtesy. Wish them well, send them love, let go. Invite contact but do not demand it. Dip into your understanding that love is never lost and respect that the journey seems to diverge and return endlessly.

4. Offer your reassurance: Let them know that whether you get a “sign” or visit from them or not, you know they are all right, and you are all right too. The quality of being in touch with your spiritual intactness and theirs,  seems to make contact easier – it is like a bridge that offers them smooth passage.

5. Write down your dreams: Better dream recall and a stronger relationship with the dream realm seems to make it easier to get a message through. Many of the people in my study have been contacted by distant relatives, friends, or neighbors on the other side, who say they have not been able to get through to a loved one, and are asking that the dreamer convey a message for them. Some of these messages are extremely detailed and specific, suggesting that it can be easier to pop into the dream of your next door neighbor than that of your grieving widow.

The people thus contacted are astounded that the departed (who was only a peripheral acquaintance) would contact them and entrust them with this messenger service. But this pervasive phenomenon underscores the idea that it is the characteristic of easy access, good dream recall, and emotional equilibrium that makes the ADC easy to accomplish from the other side. They want to get in touch because of love, but they are best able to get in touch where the vibrations are easiest for them to traverse, and where their efforts are most likely to result in vivid and accurate memory.

6. Trust your feelings: Many people who have had ADCs said that prior to the dream, they thought they felt the presence of the departed nearby. If you have such an experience, trust it. Simply talk to them in your mind, and express your awareness that you sense their presence, you wish them well, and you hope they may come into your dreams. Be gentle with the experience, and with yourself. It is a learning curve for the departed to try and contact us. Sometimes they go through a lot of effort to get through, and then we talk ourselves out of believing what is happening. Or worse, yet, we become overwhelmed with grief and get lost in sadness. Instead, if you feel their presence, be friendly and respectful. Give thanks, say hello, and encourage dream contact. Don’t take it as a rejection, a failure or a “bad sign” if you do not experience a dream ADC. Trust your sense of connection and love and try to be at ease.

Research request: If you, or someone you know has experienced After Death Communication, I would love to hear your story. Feel free to contact me directly at:

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