One of the most traumatic dreams, which is still bothering us for a long time after waking up, is a dream about the death of a close person, who is still alive in real life and whom we can meet anytime. Usually the dream is very realistic, we are witnesses to a disease, an accident, a sudden death, and we can not change the events.
It sometimes happen that we meet somebody in our dream who tells us about the death of a close person and we suddenly realize that we are taking part in a funeral or a remembrance service.. Usually we are accompanied by strong emotions, we are feeling shocked and scared, or a surprising callous acceptation.
How to interpret a dream about the death of a close person?
Dreams about the death of a close person who is alive in real life usually appear when we are going through changes in real life – when we are getting married, having a baby, changing job, place of living, etc.
It is believed that they are not portending the death of somebody close to us, but are the sign of the transitional period and transformation, the closing of one stage of our life and entering the new one. If the dying person is our partner, it may mean that we have emotionally drifted apart, which is the cause of our subconscious sadness. Such a dream may also be the expression of the feeling of sadness related to a breakup, a crisis, etc.
It also happens that a dead person symbolizes some subconsciously neglected or marginalized aspect of our life or personality.
The death of a close person is not the warning against the physical death – it is rather the metaphor for crossing from one state to another, which is necessary to regenerate and revive our existence. Analyzing the characteristic of the death, how it happened and how we reacted to it, we may find a relation to our real life situations and learn how to react to them.
How would Freud interpret a dream about the death of a close person?
For Freud, a dream about somebody’s death was the expression of our hidden wish to get rid of this person in real life, the wish which we are not always aware of. According to the psychiatrist, the sadness we feel in our dream is not sincere – it is the effect of the censorship of dreams, which drowns our sense of guilt caused by the disgraceful desire.
The modern researchers of Freud’s school believe that a dream about the death of a close person is the expression of enmity towards him/her – we give full rein to our emotions and that is why we feel better.
How would Jung interpret a dream about the death of a close person?
In Jung’s opinion, dreams about death should never be interpreted literally. He – and his followers – believed that the death appearing in our dreams symbolizes deep changes in our life, or the way of thinking and behaving. The characteristic of the death in the dream metaphorically expresses how hard those changes are for us, and what emotions they are connected with.