Seeing, hearing or sensing someone who has died

It’s normal to see, hear or sense someone who has died. While this might be scary and unsettling, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.

Why do I keep seeing the person who has died?

After someone dies, it’s normal to see or hear them. Some people also reporting sensing the smell or warmth of someone close to them, or just feel a very strong sense of their presence. Sometimes these feelings can be very powerful. They may be comforting but also feel disturbing.

These experiences are normal. When someone close to you dies it can take a while for parts of your brain and the way you think to ‘catch up’. It will take some time for your brain to process what has happened and for the finality of it to sink in.

If someone’s death was particularly traumatic, you’re more likely to see or hear the person or relive those memories. These traumatic recurring memories are called ‘flashbacks.’ Learn more about traumatic grief.

Is it OK to talk to a dead person?

Talking to the person who died is also a normal part of the grieving process. Like with seeing or sensing them, you may find yourself talking to them because your brain has temporarily forgotten they’ve died. Or, you might talk to them because you miss them and you find it comforting to speak to them out loud. There is nothing wrong with this. In many cases, it can even help you maintain the bond you had with them when they were alive. 

Supporting yourself 

  • Be patient 

These experiences are completely normal. Although people often tell us they feel like they are ‘going mad’, it’s not a sign of mental illness. It may take you some time to understand what has happened, but give yourself time. 

  • Write them a letter

If you’ve still got a lot to say to the person who’s died, try writing them a letter. Letter writing helps you organise your thoughts and put into words how you’ve been feeling since their death.

  • Be kind to yourself

The time after someone dies is very stressful. Try to make sure you’re getting plenty of rest and making time for things that relax you. 

  • Learn more about grief

Grief can be overwhelming. Learning more about what grief feels like can help you come to terms with what you’re going through. We have a range of resources to help you understand grief better.

  • Talk to someone

If you’re seeing, hearing or sensing someone who has died you might be reluctant to talk to anyone about it. But talking about your experiences will help you understand your feelings better. At Cruse, we can support you through whatever you’re going through. Find out how.

Talk to us

We’re here to support you while you’re grieving. Find out the ways we can help.