There’s this element to the Strange Loop concept of consciousness, where people you care for very deeply become permanently attached to you. If you visualize a conversation with someone, you are guessing.. . estimating how they will act. This is necessarily inaccurate, you will never contain all of their decision making abilities within your own mind. But the fidelity of their “mind” increases as you know them better. Someone you loved intensely for a long period of time will have a complex replica residing inside your brain. When the person in question is gone from your life (for whatever reason, be it physical, social, mortal, etc) this shard of personality remains.
Over the years this thought process will change as you change. Your own mind will shift who they are by repeated thoughts. This person replica will diverge from the real person. If they’re still alive, then it will diverge even faster due to the actual person changing In their own random fashion.
But in some absurd way There’s this piece of them that forever lives in you.
What the replica ultimately becomes is your concept of that person. A fictional character you’ve made up. This is why it can be so easy to hate someone who’s betrayed you, or love someone who was taken to early. You’re writing a story in your head, so of course the characters are going to have a potent emotional impact on You. They were literally made for you. It’s weird, in a sense our brains are built to feel the strongest toward the people around us less. The ones we think about but spend less time with, they will become the most of whatever they were. The kindest, the cruelest, the funniest, the bravest.
Everyone is better when they’re a fiction. Everyone is worse when they’re a fiction. Real humans are just far too complex when they’re real.