No, my friend has not entered non-being; whatever the barrier that separates me from him, I will see him again. — It is not on a syllogism that I found my hope. — The flight of an insect through the air is enough to persuade me; and often the sight of the countryside, the perfume in the air, and a certain mysterious charm shed all around me, so elevate my thoughts that an invincible proof of immortality forces its way into my heart and occupies it wholly.
— Xavier de Maistre, A Journey Around My Room (1794) (Andrew Brown, trans.).

Of my conception I know only what you know of yours. It occurred in darkness and I was unconsenting. I (and that slenderest word is too gross for the rare thing I was then) walked forever through reachless oblivion, in the mood of one smelling night-blooming flowers, and suddenly—My ravishers left their traces in me, male and female, and over the months I rounded, grew heavy, until the scandal could no longer be concealed and oblivion expelled me. But this I have in common with all my kind. By some bleak alchemy what had been mere unbeing becomes death when life is mingled with it. So they seal the door against our returning.
— Marilynne Robinson. From “Housekeeping” (1980).