Thinking you are hearing or seeing someone who has died is a common experience. Some people also reporting sensing the smell or warmth of someone close to them, who has died. It is quite normal to see the person, to hear their voice, sense their presence, or find yourself talking to them. It can often happen when people least expect it, as if the mind has temporarily ‘forgotten’ that they have died, or because the brain is trying to process the death and acknowledge the finality of it.
These experiences of the person who has died can increase in frequency if there has been a trauma, or if the bereaved person witnessed the death or is constantly reminded of it.
How to help yourself
Be reassured that these experiences are completely normal and you are not going mad. It may take you some time to grasp what has happened but be patient. It can help to talk to other friends and family.
How to help other people
If someone you know tells you that they have experienced seeing, hearing or sensing someone who has died reassure them that this is a normal, common experience. If they are very upset by it, you could suggest they call our Freephone National Helpline for more reassurance.
How Cruse can help
- Our National Freephone Helpline remains open – call 0808 808 1677. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when we’re open until 8pm.
- There is a lot of information on our website, see www.cruse.org.uk/about-grief
- Our Local Services can also offer support over the phone at the present time. Find the details of your Local Service at www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/local-services