*Ophelia, in Act 4 Scene 5 of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.
From The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910), by Rainer Maria Rilke:
“…Count Brahe intended a particular courtesy towards my father in talking of his late wife, my mother. He called her Countess Sybille, and whenever he finished a sentence it was as if he were enquiring after her. Indeed, for some unaccountable reason I felt he was referring to some very young girl dressed in white who might enter the room at any moment. I heard him speak in the same tone of ‘our little Anna Sophie’. And one day, when I asked about this young lady of whom Grandfather seemed so especially fond, I found that he was talking of the daughter of High Chancellor Conrad Reventlow, the second, morganatic wife of Frederick IV, who had been reposing at Roskilde for almost a hundred and fifty years. The passage of time was wholly immaterial to him, death was a minor incident which he completely ignored, and people whom he had once lodged in his memory continued to exist, regardless of whether they had passed away.”
From: Levels of Life (2013), by Julian Barnes:
“…I realised that, insofar as she was alive at all, she was alive in my memory. Of course, she remained powerfully in other people’s minds as well; but I was her principal rememberer. If she was anywhere, she was within me, internalised. This was normal. And it was equally normal – and irrefutable – that I could not kill myself because then I would also be killing her. She would die a second time, my lustrous memories of her fading…the broader, but related question: how am I to live? I must live as she would have wanted me to.”