Updated date:

How to Get Closure for Unasked Questions After a Relative Dies


Glenn Stok studies self-awareness and emotional well-being. He writes about it to help his readers with social mindfulness.

Praying for a loved one who recently died. Here’s how to deal with unanswered questions.

Praying for a loved one who recently died. Here’s how to deal with unanswered questions.

A successful way to have closure when losing a loved one unexpectedly is to imagine a virtual visit with the deceased.

If you are still grieving the loss, and it hurts, try to imagine having a conversation by creating their persona, or psyche, in your mind.

Sometimes people die too soon, and we feel grief without having had closure.

  • Has someone close and dear to you died before you could discuss questions you had wanted to ask?
  • Do you feel the need to get closure with a deceased loved one?
  • Are you having trouble coping with losing a parent, spouse, or another relative?
  • Would you want to have the chance to talk with your Mom or Dad who passed away?

Wherever that imagined visit takes you, you’ll learn something from it that helps with healing.

How to Deal With Losing Someone You Love

I had unanswered questions after losing a loved one, and I knew I needed closure. Fortunately, I found a way to resolve the void. I was able to use this method after the passing of my father and my Aunt.

I did not have serious, heartfelt discussions about specific issues before their deaths. Even though I missed these opportunities, I discovered a process that worked for me to gain closure and help with the grieving process after death.

  1. You can still visit someone after death by imagining it in your mind, and by scripting a conversation. You can ask questions and determine the answers by using your knowledge of their personality and of how they may have responded.
  2. You can recreate their persona, or psyche, in your mind. It's as if you were visiting them to talk, even though they are no longer physically there. You can create the script of the conversation in your mind.

That may help with grief, or having closure, by finding a way to complete those discussions that you wish you had while they were alive.

It can happen passively, with dreams of the loved one. Or you can be more proactive and achieve results consciously by imagining a virtual visit. I'll discuss both these ideas.

A Deceased Loved One Might Appear in a Dream

When we have dreams of a loved one who had passed away, it's our way of resolving unfinished business.

Many people experience dreams where deceased loved ones reappear. That seems to be a common phenomenon, and there has to be some psychological meaning with these dreams. They may be the result of the brain trying to make some sense out of an unexpected loss or to resolve emotional issues.

I had an experience with a deceased relative appearing in a dream. It wasn’t until I woke up that I realized the person in my dream had already been dead. In my dream they were very much alive. It’s as if they were immortal in my mind.

Dreams of deceased relatives can occur anytime. They can come back, even decades later, to revisit in a dream that our subconscious mind creates. My father, who died over 30 years ago, has reappeared in dreams long after his death.

In those dreams, he was very much alive. I think that is our brain's way of still working out some form of closure.

Imagine Meeting in a Virtual Visit

Imagine a meeting with the deceased and having a conversation as if they were there with you.

When we remember loved ones who we lost due to old age or health problems, we most likely visualize them as we last remembered them.

It's essential to decide at what age they should be when you visit them in this simulated visit. Many different results can come out of this, depending on their age you choose them to be when you have this virtual visit. You may want to try visiting them at several different stages in their life so that you can discuss things that were pertinent at that time.

I did this to have closure when I lost my Aunt. I needed to resolve some issues that were bothering me ever since I was a child. So in my mind, I imagined her being the age I recall her being when I was a kid. Then I proceeded to have that virtual conversation.

You can do anything you want in your mind to accomplish this communication with a deceased relative. Do whatever is necessary to help with grief or to resolve an issue so you can feel closure.

You need to resolve unfinished business. This can still be accomplished with a deceased loved one by using your knowledge of how they would have wished to help you. It works. You're in control of the process.

During your virtual visit, pay attention to their expression. Bring their reactions to life in your mind. Try to get in touch with the way they used to respond to you as you imagine the conversation in your mind.

Think About What You Need for Closure

Plan your virtual visit by thinking about what you would want to accomplish.

  • What would you ask?
  • What would you want to tell them?
  • What would you expect in return?

Do you just want to have some precious time with them that you feel you missed out on when they were still around?

Was something more troubling to you, and you never made an effort to discuss it when they were alive?

Were they a source of comfort? Do you need that now? Were they the only person you could get that from?

Do you need their approval on some issues that you had never resolved?

Were they critical of you, and you are now ready to understand the reason why? Or did you already resolve that, and you just want to share the news with them? Maybe even thank them for making you aware of something important?

Do you need their input on something that’s going on for you right now that you are anxious about? Are they the only person who can help?

If it's unfinished business that you feel you need to resolve, think about how will it affect you if you get the answer you want? Will you be able to handle it if you get a different result out of it?

There are many issues to be considered, but you can get a lot out of it by imagining in your mind how a discussion with a loved one might go.

Use some idea you have of their attitude to envision what they might tell you and what answers they may have in response to the questions lingering in your mind.

Imagine how a discussion with a deceased loved one might go.

Imagine how a discussion with a deceased loved one might go.

Try This Exercise

  1. Imagine how a discussion with a deceased loved one might go.
  2. Imagine the answers you know they would want to share with you.
  3. Let them guide you with those answers in your mind.

In Summary

Remember, you might have a good idea of how they would respond to various questions by imagining and recreating their psyche. You can determine what they would have told you when you ask for help.

Just verbalize those answers in your mind as if you were having a conversation with them today.

Your loved one wants to help. They will never let you down, dead or alive. Wherever it takes you, you’ll learn something from it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I was not allowed to attend my dad's funeral because his executor, who is not blood-related, didn't want me there. I'm sure that was not my dad's wish. How can I get closure?

Answer: This is one of the sad situations when an executor who has issues with family members is chosen. It’s especially troubling when a son or daughter is kept from saying their farewells.

You do need to have closure so that you can move on. Try a virtual visit. Imagine your dad is there in front of you and tell him whatever it is you need to say.

If you have questions you wish he would have answered while alive, try asking anyway in your virtual visit.

Then imagine what he would have answered based on how you knew him—imagine what you think he would have answered.

I discuss all this in detail in the article, along with additional ideas for closure. Review it carefully and give it a chance.

Question: My friend died of cancer without telling me he was dying, I am in denial, how do I find closure?

Answer: Sorry to hear of your friend's death and for your grief. Your situation fits very well with what I explained in this article. Since your friend did not tell you of their cancer, you probably are in need of getting answers to unasked questions. Visualize you being with your friend and envision what they might tell you when you ask about their health. Just imagine their answers in your mind. There is no need to worry that it may not be accurate. Whatever you come up with will help with closure.

© 2011 Glenn Stok


Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 08, 2020:

Shelley Barner - I’m sorry for your loss. If it helps any, I am sure your Mom knows that you would have been there in Johnstown if there was a way for you to get there. She appreciates it that you spent all those days sitting with her before she was moved so far away. You did everything that a loving daughter would do, and more! She knows that! And because of that, she knows how much you love her.

Shelley Barner on January 08, 2020:

I lost my mother a little over a year ago. She fell in the kitchen and hit her head on the floor. This caused a brain bleed that required surgery. She never recovered.

She was awake for about three days but was unable to form words. Then she went to sleep and never woke up again. She remained in that state for a few months. I sat with her every single day until her condition worsened and she was sent to Johnstown. I was unable to travel there to be with her.

She died alone. I hate myself for that. I love her so much. She was my best friend and most awesome mom in the world. I would give anything to be able to tell her that I am so sorry that I wasn't there and I love her so much. I have her ashes in a special place where she is always close by.

I just want to talk to her one more time to tell her I am sorry, I miss her, and I am going to be moving out of our home. I want her to know how much I miss and love her.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 17, 2018:

Jean Bakula - Thank you for that contribution. Those are wonderful additional ideas. I’ve used the letter-writing too, even to people still alive without the intention of actually mailing it. It satisfies the emotions.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on April 16, 2018:

What a nice article. I often tell people to write a letter to say whatever they feel was left unsaid. I have done it myself and it really does help. I also believe it's best to remember the person the best way you saw them. When I see my husband, I see a collage of him at all different ages, but mostly when we were young. You can meditate too, and think of what you want to say. I think they are listening.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on November 25, 2017:

R Bernard - Sorry for your loss. Even though it was so long ago, he forgives you because you always remember.

R Bernard on November 25, 2017:

Thank You Glenn for this information. My dad past away 3 days after Christmas in 1997. I did not say my final good byes. I did communicated with my dad. He gave me several different signs that he always does. He would smack me in back of head if I was not treating the ladies right especially my mom or the wife. Since I did not give proper good bye, he forgave me on that. I know he will always be with me because I'm a splitting image of him.

mathira from chennai on November 23, 2011:

I could easily relate to this article because I had lost my husband.Though I might have lost him physically, I feel he is still with me spiritually.Whatever problems I might have, I share it with him to this day.

jenubouka on November 22, 2011:

What a great article, I like to think that my deceased loved ones can hear me, and from time to time smile down at me. Voted up!

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on November 20, 2011:

pstraubie48, Thank you for your very meaningful comments. I'm sorry you lost your parents in such as short time (of your life). I can understand how you feel because I also had older parents. My parents were 43 and 46 when I was born.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 20, 2011:

Thank you for sharing this. I do not think of myself as wacky but I do communicate with my parents...I talk to them and share with them the events that have occurred since they left this planet. My parents were already elderly when I was born so they left the planet when I was much younger than most people's do. It kind of bothered me, no, not kind of, it rankled my ire, when people would say ..o you had them a long time...because they were older (93 and 87)..and I would say...no, the world had them a long time...I did not. So when they passed on, left this planet, I decided I would talk to them and I do. I feel most closely connected to my Mother when I am working in my yard as she was able to make sticks grow.

So thank you for sharing this so others may at least begin to think about talking to their loved ones.

Related Articles