Do the Dead Miss Us?

I had an odd dream last night. The setting wasn’t very detailed — just a simple bed in the middle of an empty white room that my waking self doesn’t recognize. I was lying in the bed, the white sheet pulled up to my chest. My deceased life mate/soul mate walked into the room wearing only white underwear. I got the impression he was coming from somewhere else or someone else, and that we weren’t still together. He stopped by my feet, gave them an affectionate rub, then came around to the empty side of the bed. He bedlay on the bed on top of the sheet, cuddled up close to me, and said softly, “I miss you.”

I woke, and tears came to my eyes. I’ve been keeping myself busy lately, and haven’t been thinking about him much, and the dream reminded me how much I missed him. I lay in bed waiting for a full-blown grief upsurge, but after a minute or two, I simply went back to sleep.

This is the closest I’ve ever had to what I would consider a “visitation” dream, and it’s left wondering if it was some sort of real encounter.

In various updates about grief on this blog, I mention that I talk to him, and I always make a facetious remark about his silence, such as this comment in a letter to him I posted a few days ago: so far you’ve been mum about your situation. Just one more thing to hate—the silence of the grave. (Well, the silence of the funerary urn.)

Could the dream have been an attempt to contact me? I don’t really believe it, but still, this is the first of the handful of dreams I’ve had about him in the past three and a half years that ever mentioned how he might be feeling. Could it be that the dead miss us as much as we miss them? Could they be feeling as amputated as we do?

Whatever the truth of the dream, it adds one more facet to this strange and incomprehensible state we call grief.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.