And I then felt, together with an intense pity for her, a sort of shame at having survived her. It seemed to me indeed, in the hours when I suffered least, that I had somehow benefited from her death, for a woman is of greater utility to our life if, instead of being an element of happiness in it, she is an instrument of suffering, and there is not a woman in the world the possession of whom is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.
Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, p. 506
Marcel continues to work his way through his pain at the death of Albertine, although there are times when he doesn't seem that broken up about it. However, let's be fair, it wouldn't make much of a novel if it were nothing more than pages of muffled sobs. One of the things that we rightly celebrate about Remembrance of Things Past is Proust's extraordinary power of perception and attention to detail, and that has to relate to love and love and and pain and suffering as well. Still, when he uses terms like "greater utility" to discuss the death of his great love it's going to rub some people the wrong way. He's an artist, and it may be an old chestnut, but don't we all believe on some level that art is the child of suffering. And if Proust (and Marcel) had lived a happy uneventful life we wouldn't remember him now, and we wouldn't be better people for having read the novel. Do we really expected him to say things other than "there is not a woman in the world the possession of whom is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer"? I argued a month or so ago that women are socialized to view marriage as a destination, whereas men never are; it may happen, but it's certainly not what their intended destination. Consequently, women are too often viewed as a landmine, and one to be avoided at all cost. There is a reason why the Romans, while they may have felt pity for Dido, didn't feel too much pity for her because she almost kept Aeneas from fulfilling his destiny.