Between These Two Unknowns – Dreaming about death

Birth and death; we all move between these two unknowns.

Bryant H. McGill

You wake up screaming, full of sweat,  and find  your screams mixed with uncontrollable sobbing.  Once you are able to finally focus on the sunlight coming through your window, you realize that you ARE awake, and it YES, it was just a dream.  Yet, you wonder, why you still feel afraid?  Why is the urge to cry lingering? AND why oh why is it so important you call the person you’ve just dreamed about?  You’ve just had the dreaded “death” dream:  You fear the worst.

I had that dream, almost 20 years ago I am sure.  I do not remember the details surrounding the dream, however, I remember seeing my brother (as if I was high up on a ledge observing him) walking through a parking lot, keys in hand, towards his car.  He looked like he was coming back from a work meeting, he was dressed in his suit (my brother, at the time,  had his own business in the works) and had his briefcase in hand.  He approached his car and as soon as he put the keys in the passenger door to unlock it, IT EXPLODED!!! He was dead!

I woke up at that instant crying so hard I almost threw up.  I immediately came back to my senses, but picked up the phone immediately! I was sure I had a premonition dream and I had to save my brother.  Obviously I didn’t, he’s alive and well today, however, why did I have that dream?

My daughter this week, as I mentioned on my Facebook Page, had a dream I died.  She was very upset, she said when she woke up to the point of crying.  In her dream, after I died and the feeling of loss subsided, she decided to go to the house where we lived in our dream and clean it up.  Once the house cleaned, she told me, she started making a list of things she needed to fix up (to take care of).  Then, she started getting ready to take a boat trip.  Her X step-father was in her dream, telling he it was time to get out of the house.  She said his voice was a reminder that it was time, not malicious.  She quickly got her bags, she said, after saying goodbye to her friends on the computer, and hurried to get out.  The boat ride was waiting.  End of dream.

Note my daughter has had a long term relationship with boats, especially as a young child.  She drew them often.  Sailboats in particular.  She was always standing in her boat on calm waters going ahead towards the sun. Thus, the boat symbolism is very personal to her.  It means, freedom, growth and smooth and safe sailing!  

Of course both my daughter and I experienced a bit of panic when she described her dream to me, BUT really do death dreams mean real death?


Often, when we draw the Death card in Tarot, we see the worst, until we read the meaning of the card.  In her Tarot book, The Dreamer’s Journal, Barbara Moore describes the Death card in her deck:

“This card can, but rarely does, refer to physical death, which is some comfort.  Death, though, whether physical or metaphorical, is not an easy experience.  This card implies the end of something, perhaps a job, a relationship, a situation, or an organization.  The actual ending will likely be hard, but once it’s over the cycle continues and something new will come. On the other hand, it may be a welcome closure, such as ending a bad relationship, quitting an unhappy job, or selling a house to get a new one.  On a spiritual level, this can mean a symbolic death where you eliminate old beliefs that no longer work for you and perhaps were holding back.  Death is usually hard, but it must happen before transformation or resurrection occurs”  p. 71

Basically, my daughter’s dream makes a lot of sense if you look at it.  She just finished her 3rd year in high-school, she’s taking charge of her life, she follows house rules more often than not, and is coming into her own!  She studies harder, works harder, makes wise choices, and to top it off, this year I told her that my nagging stops, and her choices begin!  

In fact, her dream is a positive one, where  as in she is growing up, learning to depend LESS on me and MORE on herself. This is a great sign or her maturity.  Another way to look at this dream, according to Craig Hamilton-Parker:

“If you dream about your mother dying… it could represent the death of the “motherly” side of your own nature” A more caring and maternal attitude MAY be needed, according to Hamilton-Parker. There may also be a hidden wish to be independent of the mother.

The dream about my brother, at the time, seems to mean about the same.  We were very close and depended a lot on each other.  He was always there for me, and I called him constantly when I needed something.  I think the urge to detach myself from him was in a way to A.  Become independent and B.  detach myself from my “jealousy”.  There was a time my brother’s success with EVERYTHING (women, clients, work, sports, etc..) was something I wanted (not the woman part mind you.. but you get the drift).  

Sometime it takes a big explosion to wake you up!

The next time you have the dreaded death dream.  Take a moment to gather your thoughts and write them down.  Look at what changes you have recently made in your life, or new plans coming up.  You may be experiencing troubles in your relationship, or looking to quit your job for a more interesting one.  Whatever experiences you are having, note the old adage: “out with the old and in with the new”!  

If you have had a death dream recently or in the past, jot it down in the comment section.  It will be my pleasure to help you find the meaning.

Have a great weekend!









7 thoughts on “Between These Two Unknowns – Dreaming about death

      • I used to dream about a headless skeleton chasing me around downtown where we lived. His skull was in a phone booth outside a butcher shop. For years I dreamed this! *L*


      • Chase dreams usually mean you are running away from something you do not want to face. The headless skeleton could mean the thing you are not facing are like “skeletons in your closet”.. causing you to not “think straigh” (headless).


  1. Hi Kim :D
    Iv actually had this dream soooo many times….not too much lately but alot in the past. Im in a graveyard..standing in front of a tombstone. im crying and all alone. But when in my dream i try to look at a name or something..i wake up. So i havent a clue if there even is name..but i know the feeling after i wake is overwhelming.Sad. ……


  2. Tombstones usually represent “mourning” you are mourning for something, sadness. There may be something in your life you need to acknowledge, like a past hurt that needs healing so you can move on. I wonder if this has to do with your identity.. (nameless) and knowing who you truly are!!


  3. Pingback: Dreaming About Death and Marriage? | A Metaphorical Mind

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