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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

Visitation Dreams of Deceased Family & Pets

Updated: Apr 2

Have you ever dreamed of your deceased loved one or furry friend? Oftentimes, after our family or pets have passed away, we may encounter visitation dreams. What stands out the most is how real and vivid it is for us.

Visitation dreams are known to help you cope with your grief, loss, and sorrow. They are dreams of a deceased loved one that is extremely lifelike.

According to the website article on, "The famed psychologist Carl Jung coined the term 'Big Dreams' to describe visitation dreams. He believed in his years of research that when a person dreams of their deceased loved ones, it’s a reflection of a person’s insight into different spiritual levels. He refers to common types of dreams as 'little dreams' and those with more profound significance and insight as 'big dreams.'

This intriguing article goes on to state, "Several psychologists who’ve worked with patients having such dreams agree that there are specific characteristics attributed to dreaming about your deceased loved ones. The notes regarding the commonalities found are not part of a formal study, rather an observation of several encounters as reported by patients."

Here are some characteristics of visitation dreams:

  • They feel real & vivid

  • They seem authentic

  • Your deceased loved one(s) visited you

  • They have a higher purpose

  • They convey clear messages

  • They are reassuring & calming

  • They can warn of danger

  • They comfort you

  • They leave you feeling peaceful

  • You feel as if your loved one was there

  • Your loved one may appear healthier & younger

While some folks may think visitation dreams are a figment of their imagination, I strongly believe that visitation dreams are real. One reason why is because I have personally experienced visitation dreams. Not just once or twice, but many times.

When Samson was nine weeks old, we adopted him. He was energetic, playful, and he had an affectionate nature. I used to create funny nicknames for Samson, including water dog, snow dog, and hunk of love. LOL!

Many times, Samson was known to go into "guard dog mode." Whether it was someone strolling past my home, a mailman at my door, or strangers nearby, Samson appeared on the outside like a ferocious lion. Meanwhile, he was actually a gentle giant and like a teddy bear.

After Samson turned 13 years old in June 2015, his health started to decline quickly. His hind legs were not able to support him. Sadly, he had accidents involving falling down the steps. By November 2015, Sam's overall health rapidly deteriorated. He had countless health conditions, due to his older age. I can recall looking into his precious eyes and sensing that he was thinking, "Mom, it's time to let me go. I am hurting and in so much pain." From one dog lover to another, it shattered my heart into dozens of pieces. I couldn't bare him suffering. For me, this meant that I needed to make some brutal decisions. There is no easy way to say goodbye to our loved ones and pets. There is no simple way to deal with it. It is grueling, heart-wrenching, and very stressful.

On November 5, 2015, it was my husband and my wedding anniversary. Instead of going out to a gourmet restaurant to celebrate our anniversary, we landed at the vet's office to say our final goodbye to Samson.

As I type this post, tears fill my eyes. The memories flood back to me as if it were yesterday. And as my tears slip down my face, I don't regret making the hardest decision of my life. The kindest act of authentic love is to end Samson's suffering. To not permit my yellow Labrador to be in turmoil and chronic pain anymore. Euthanasia is most certainly a realistic option to end the suffering of our pets, especially when they have a terminal illness.

On that cold autumn afternoon, my husband and I mustered up the strength to do what was best for Samson. We gently petted Samson as the vet administered the injection. Typically, my spouse is a man strong as steel. Yet, on this dreary day, he sat on the floor next to our dog and he openly sobbed. This made it double hard for me to observe.

As an Empath and Highly Sensitive Person, I not only feel deeply, but I can literally sense the emotions and pain of others. Out of nowhere, something in me found the courage to not fall apart. It's like I knew that I had to be in the present moment for both Samson and my husband. With a sense of calm that came upon me, I cooed to Samson, "You are the most beautiful, best dog on earth. You are so strong, and I love you dearly." After a few minutes, Samson stopped breathing. And my world had forever changed.

A day later, I felt a bit robotic and numb. I tried to stay busy packing up Samson’s dishes, toys, and his belongings. His memories were too fresh and painful for me.

Tony suggested that we go out to dinner since we missed our anniversary and didn’t go out to a fancy restaurant. I wasn’t up for it, but I sensed I should at least go out for pizza with Tony. I preferred to keep it casual and simple. Plus, what’s not to love about pizza?

In effort to apply my makeup and style my hair, I walked up to our bedroom to get ready. When I was alone, I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. Mourning my sweet dog, I said a silent prayer.

As tears slipped down my face, I asked, “God, could you give me a clear sign that Samson's in a better place?"

On November 6, 2015, God/Source/Higher Power most certainly worked wonders behind the scenes for me. Within minutes of asking for a sign, I heard a bird singing. When I strolled over to my window to peer out, I noticed a radiant red cardinal sitting on a tree branch.

For over ten minutes, this lovely bird sang its heart out. A soothing lullaby for me during my grief. Instantly, it filled me with comfort. As peace washed over me, I thought, “Could this be the sign that I asked for?”

Intrigued to learn more, I went onto the internet to research the symbolism of red cardinals. Scrolling through articles, I was blown away by the accuracy of my situation. The one website shared this fascinating information about seeing red cardinals: “There are times when it may be possible for a little red cardinal to get our attention when nothing else can, especially in times of depression and grief. Cardinals can bring color and vitality into our lives. Their crimson color can remind us of the importance of ourselves as individuals in the circle of life. As the cardinal red color is symbolic of faith, so it can remind us to ‘keep the faith’ through circumstances that might look bleak, dark, and hopeless. You are a vital element in the circle of life and regardless of where you are in that cycle you always have the opportunity for restoration, revitalization, and renewal. The call of the cardinal can be used to gain our attention and lift us from our depression, our sorrow, or perhaps our ordinariness.

In awe, I stood in my bedroom feeling overwhelmed. I was stunned by how the Creator/Universe/Higher Power had answered a single prayer. One simple request. One moment frozen in time by a leap of faith.

Marveled by this incredible divine sign, gratitude filled my heart. I felt deeply thankful that God/Source powerfully ministered to me during my sadness and loss. The truth is that there are signs everywhere. Miracles are real. They happen every day. We merely need to be willing and open to receive it.

Signs, symbols, and synchronicity can randomly cross our paths. They can turn an ordinary moment into something extraordinary. It can be a butterfly, ladybug, rainbow, doves, hawks, numbers, music, books, and even strangers who unexpectedly show up at the right time for the right purpose to comfort us. Each are divine appointments.

My First Visitation Dream of Samson

A few days after my lab had passed away, I had a visitation dream. Or actually this may be summed up by calling it "stranger things." This one was beyond supernatural phenomena. The most bizarre fact was that I wasn't even in a deep sleep or dream state. I was in the midst to drifting off to sleep, but I was still lucid. Out of nowhere, I felt fur brush against my right arm. Visually, I couldn't see Samson. Yet, I knew his soul was present. I had no doubt that he was here in the physical realm with the purpose to comfort me. Gratitude filled my heart for this miraculous experience.

Fast forward to July 2020. My elderly mother had passed away in early July 2020. For those unaware of my relationship with my mom, it was unhealthy and dysfunctional. My two books, Soul Cry and Soul Rescue, share my true stories pertaining to my child abuse and narcissistic abuse.

Growing up as a daughter of a narcissistic mother was difficult. In July 2018, I knew that the only way to truly heal was to break free of the abusive dynamics. For we cannot heal if we stay in toxic relationships. Ending the cycle of abuse takes great courage and strength.

What makes the death of our parent (s) more difficult is when we have experienced child neglect and abuse, betrayal, and a lifetime of manipulation by them. It's a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes, coming to acceptance for what we had no control over (abusive family members) is a steppingstone to the grief work. Acceptance doesn't mean the abuse was okay. Abuse is never okay. No matter what, there are no exceptions. Yet, we can eventually come to a sacred space where we can work through the normal stages of grief. We can experience various stages, including denial, depression, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. Some of us will encounter each one. Others may only experience a few. There is no timeline on grieving. Grief is like the ocean. It ebbs and it flows. Sometimes, we feel as if we are drowning in raging waves. Other times, we can stay afloat.

Monarch Butterflies & My Visitation Dream of My Mother

Two days before my mother passed away, my nephew informed my son. Instantly, my son texted me of the news. It baffled me that not a single sister of mine had the decency to tell me that our mom was on her deathbed.

Prior to this, I had no awareness about her being in hospice. As always, my sisters intentionally aimed to hurt me. They were spiteful, vengeful, and outright abusive.

Had it not been for my nephew sharing this important information with my son, I wouldn’t have known. Due to the 2020 pandemic, there was no way I could visit my mom. According to my nephew, the hospice wouldn’t permit her to have visitors, unless each person had undergone medical testing and clearances to prove they were not ill. No doubt, this could take many days, if not much longer.

My nephew told my son that my mom’s organs in her body were shutting down. He expected her to pass away quickly. Obviously, I had no control over these circumstances.

I felt sad about how my mother’s life would end. That our relationship hadn’t been restored.

Despite my mom deeply hurting me and betraying me, I will always love her. On that hot summer day, I silently prayed for my mom, her soul, and for an easy transition into her life after death. I asked God to forgive her and to have mercy on her.

In the early morning on July 8, 2020, the ‘golden child’ of my family was with my mother when she passed away. This actually filled me with peace. It was an answer to prayer. Of all the people who could be with my mom during her last breath on earth, this is the sister who I believe could offer our mom compassion, love, and empathy. For this, I’m grateful.

One week after my mom had died, I had a vivid dream about her. It felt very intense, vivid, and real. As if my deceased mother visited me in my sleep.

In my dream, I was in the back yard of the home where I had grown up with my birth family. My four older sisters were with me. They quietly stood near me. We were aware that our mother had passed away.

Suddenly, hundreds of Monarch butterflies surrounded me. They flew all around me and above me. In my dream, I knew my mother’s spirit was with me. I could feel her soul near me. Visually I didn’t see her physical body. Yet, I had no doubt she was present.

Within minutes, my mother’s physical body appeared. She looked much younger and healthier. My mom moved closer to me, placed her arms around me, and gently hugged me.

In my dream, I sensed her soul made peace with my soul. It was on a spiritual realm. My mom and I communicated telepathically in my visitation dream. Those who are Empaths, Highly Sensitive People, or who have spiritual gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, or clairsentience may be the only people who can truly understand the intriguing phenomena. Those who are not in tune to the spiritual realm or divine signs may not "get it."

As my mother and I embraced, I wept. It felt deeply moving and poignant. When I awoke from my dream, tears were still streaming down my cheeks.

I absolutely love the butterfly symbolism. Whether it is in a dream or waking life, butterflies represent:

  • A powerful transformation

  • Metamorphosis in your life

  • Moving through life cycles

  • Rebirth

  • Renewal

  • Elevation from earthly matters

  • Tuning into emotional or spiritual wisdom

  • Messages from guardian angels

  • Resurrection

  • Joy

  • The soul

Following my enlightening dream, it has helped me to view my situation with my narcissistic mother in a whole new light. To understand that she taught me valuable life lessons. Important teachable moments even if some of the lessons were painful and had wrecked me.

Valuable lessons to take back my positive energy and power. Life lessons to stand strong in my core self. To know that some people come into our lives to teach us difficult lessons and painful lessons. It is meant to wake us up to rescue our own soul.

I strongly believe that my soul desires me to be at peace with my mom. To release all resentment and negativity. To forgive her for abusing me and traumatizing me. This is freeing! I feel lighter, joyful, and liberated.

Eight days after my mother died, I had my second visitation dream of Samson, my yellow lab who had been deceased for five years. Very similar to the first visitation dream, it was late at night. This time, I was sound asleep in my cozy bed.

In my dream state, Samson jumped onto my bed. He bounced up and down like a cheerful child, excited to see me. In my dream, I was thrilled for Samson to visit me.

I was aware that he was deceased, and this was his spirit present with me. In my visitation dream, Samson was affectionate, kissing me. Laughing, I joyfully cooed, "Samson, I'm so happy to see you! I've missed you so much."

Then I awoke from me dream fully trusting what had taken place. Although, some people may think this is crazy, I don't feel that way.

Ultimately, I don't need a logical explanation. My soul knows what my soul knows. It fills me with the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Today, if you dream of a loved one or pet visiting you, may it comfort you and encourage you. Consider it a divine sign that love never dies. I consider it a blessing in disguise and beautiful miracle on earth.

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