Memories and the dead

I am really hung up on the theme running through Lost about what happens to the dead and the memories we have left of them. This season already we have Locke in the FST at LAX telling Jack that his father isn't lost, just his body, i.e. the "real" remains of Christian still exist and are with his loved ones. Then, we have James Ford watching Little House on The Prarie where Pa tells Laura that you're not really gone when you die. "The memories of loved ones sustain us." Finally, Isabella tells Riccardo to "close his eyes and know that they will always be together" the last time he's with her before she dies.

  • On the island many have suspected the whispers are those of the dead
  • We see the dead used by MIB
  • Some think the Losties actually died on the plane and the island could just be playing out their memories somehow

I don't have a good theory for this, just wondered what other observations everyone else had made re: this theme and what you think it all means. Has anyone seen foreshadowing of this theme in prior seasons?

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