Do dreams of death mean I am going to die?

Question: My husband keeps dreaming that he’s going to die.  The dreams are the same and quite detailed.  Does this mean it’s going to happen?  He’s seriously freaked out.

Answer:  No it doesn’t mean he’s going to die.  If dreaming about future death was a sure sign of impending doom I’d have been dead at 16, 18, 24, and 26, and the apocolypse would have happened 20 times by now.  I’m not saying death dreams couldn’t be prophetic, just that it’s not likely.  It may sometimes seem as if the universe has a sick sense of humor, but notifying people of their own demise is not something the universe messes around with.  That would be cruel.

It’s hard to tell a prophetic dream from a fear dream sometimes.  I’ve had dreams where I’ve received a warning about something negative that was going to happen to me and it did in fact come true.  And I’ve had tons of dreams about visiting the future or witnessing my own death or the death of a loved one that haven’t come true at all.  It is certainly unnerving when you dream something horrible and it feels like a premonition.

So why do these dreams come to us if they’re not premonitions?  I think there are several possibilities.  First, maybe you’re getting information about a possible future to warn you to take different action to avoid the outcome shown to you.  Or perhaps you’re seeing an alternate reality where you do in fact die the way the dream shows you that you did.  Maybe it’s just a fear dream.  Maybe it’s just symbolic and needs interpreting.  The trick is not to let a death dream cause you to fear death, because then you’re giving your power to something outside yourself that you have no control over, and that can send you into a tailspin where you never leave the house.

When Steve and I were in New York in 2007 I had a dream one night that my son, Kyle, was floating face down in our swimming pool and my parents, who were watching him while we were away, didn’t see him.  In the dream I was screaming to them to notice he was in trouble but they couldn’t hear me.  In the dream I was frantic trying to get to him to help him so he wouldn’t drown and die.  I woke from that dream with my heart pounding and total fear in my mind.  I felt like something bad was going to happen to Kyle.  It was 6am New York time so it was only 3am back home in Vegas.  I decided to call my father when it was closer to 8am his time and warn him to keep Kyle away from the swimming pool.  But once we got going for the day I forgot to call my dad.  Around noon New York time my father called me and said, “Erin, do you have a doctor nearby?  Kyle was injured at school and they called and asked me to pick him up immediately and take him to a doctor.”  I said, “Oh my God, what happened?”  He said, “The kids were playing on the merry-go-round and Kyle was running alongside it when he tripped, fell, and rolled under the merry-go-round while it basically trampled all over him.  By the time the teachers got to him it was too late.  He apparently has a big bump on his head and a cut.”  Kyle turned out to be okay and recovered pretty quickly.  So…  he didn’t drown, but he was injured.  Was the dream a premonition and if so, why didn’t it show me him next to a merry-go-round?  I don’t know.

You can play the doom game if you want, but ultimately you don’t want dreams to rob you of your power and authority over your own life.  So my advice is to take them with a grain of salt.  If you dream that at 2pm you’re going to electrocute yourself in the bathtub, don’t get in the bathtub at 2pm.  Why tempt fate?  But unless the universe is going to give you a signed, notarized, detailed account of your fate, don’t worry about your future.  Live in the present.

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