23rd Oct: It's time for the Second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest! Details here
"The woman I loved is... dead."
— Christian, Moulin Rouge!
"I'd propose there's a counterpart to the MPDG, though I don't have nearly as catchy a name. That would be the guilt-inducing ghost wife, filmed in ethereal late afternoon light, fragile, frequently desexualized, a specter of memory and failure haunting our tortured, widowed heroes — why couldn't I save her — in visions, flashbacks or more fantastical set-ups. (...) Idealized and resented, ghost wives are both saint and tormentor, instrumental to the plot, spurring our mourning hero on to seek revenge, redemption or resolution. Like the MPDG, there's a distinct subjective quality to their characterization — they're along for the ride, but they don't get to tell the story. Unlike the MPDG, being dead, the best they can hope for is to be banished or joined in the afterlife."
Now, never losing sight of the object—supremeness or perfection at all points, I asked myself—"Of all melancholy topics what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy?" Death, was the obvious reply. "And when," I said, "is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?" From what I have already explained at some length the answer here also is obvious—"When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: the death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world, and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover."
What am I supposed to be, now that she's gone? When you find that one person who connects you to the world, you become someone different. Someone better. When that person's taken from you, what do you become then?
— John Reese, Person of Interest
The memory of our days is still burning me up inside.
— Guts, Berserk
"Do you want to know the horrible truth? I can't even remember what she looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted...someone took her away from me...and seven kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind."
— King Robert re Lyanna Stark, Game of Thrones
The assassination of White’s wife is played off like the death of Obi Wan and Dumbledore combined. Yet despite that we only had two scenes with the wife before and both of them she was a shrill heartless b*tch.
This is how I'll always remember you. Surrounded by winter. Forever young, forever beautiful. Rest well, my love. The monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a dish Best Served Cold.
— Mr. Freeze, Batman: The Animated Series