When You Suffer A Loss That Cannot Be Denied

One of the most memorable clients was a gal who signed on for one of my first astrology classes. She was in her mid-late 30’s as I recall.  The class was focused on love and relationships. She sent her chart along with an outline of her relationship history. It was breathtaking and spectacular.

One after another, she outlined her love affairs with men larger than life… fantastic men, epic men, great looking men, genius men, creative men who were totally devoted to her. Her speech was dramatic. The men all had eyes that twinkled and winkled and did some other fine tricks especially when looking at her. She and her beau were always the best and brightest in every room they ever graced… and then at the end of each story there was a big ol’ alas.

But alas, he was a drunk.
But alas, he had to leave the country.
But alas, his mother got involved.

Besides being inflated, the story had Neptune written all over it so of course I pointed this out. Boy oh boy did I hit a nerve.

I don’t regret pointing it out as it was my job to do so. But this gal was truly convinced she was headed towards a dream wedding. All she could see was that she was stupendous. What she absolutely could not see is that all her relationships had failed and she was pushing forty years old.

She was in the mindset that things could do nothing but get better. She had friends telling her how terrific she was so when I came up with a contrary opinion, it wasn’t very popular.

In fact she kicked off a behind-the-scenes smear campaign that was not to be believed. I probably cured her because mad or otherwise, I bet she went right out there and married SOMEONE just to prove I was wrong. Anything but have the veil drop, see?

There is a point you get to in life where you realize things don’t always come out well. There is such a thing as loss and situations that are unsolvable.

As an example, on our honeymoon my husband and I visited his his best friend’s grave. He died in his 30’s. I was standing there looking at the plaque in the military cemetery and thinking how young he was.

When you’re in your 30’s and someone dies in their 30’s, you might think they’ve lived a life but 20 years later it looks a very different. He was young man when he died and how do you resolve that? Do you say, “Well he was in special forces?” What does that do for you? Anything?

Back to the woman I referenced, she was someone who had never had a loss. She’d just never lost anything significant enough to register.

Recently I had a client who lost both his parents in a very short span of time. Do you think he can resolve this? How?

We go on with our lives and perhaps have the skills to come up from the ashes but the idea things all come out well and tied neat with a bow is a myth. It’s not that you have to be haunted by your loss on a daily basis but you can rely on this much, it will always come back.

Have you suffered a loss impossible to deny or resolve?

72 thoughts on “When You Suffer A Loss That Cannot Be Denied”

  1. Elsa- Wow!!! expletives are not enough to commend you for this excellent piece. I remember that gal and that picture and that class. You are so bang on!

  2. Lost both parents when I was in my 20’s — I can be in a store or wherever and hear someone, a young woman talking on their phone to their mother…. 1000 incidents like this a day– it’s so common and normal. That’s just one example. Having parents is “normal” for someone in their 20’s… but not if they’re me? Nope.

    There’s this great poem by Elizabeth Bishop and I can’t remember the name “the art of losing isn’t hard to master” — is that how it goes? I can’t remember… Definitely far too haunted these days.

  3. Oh right, well yes that picture was great. I’ve watched this movie about three times with my eldest daughter too.

    I love that scene early on when the war is pending and Scarlet is flirting with, and holding the attention of, every man at the party. She dismisses the thought of war, oblivious and unaware of the incredible impact about to… well you know the storyline.

  4. Sorry mp!

    It’s kind of a pre-cardinal cross story isn’t it? [chills run through body, get’s goosebumps]

  5. I actually hate commenting on these posts but I can’t help myself. I’ll spare recounting any other unresolveable losses though– unless you beg me. Haha (dark humor. Pardon me. It’s very dark here.)

  6. one of my friends from high school died last year from an overdose. 29. i was really beside myself and thinking a lot like you mention above. it’s not right, it’s terrible. we were robbed. he was robbed. so for a few days i was just walking around like a zombie. nothing felt right. then i heard this song on the radio – the sundays – love. one of the lines is “love, it’s enough” and it just clicked. it wasn’t all better but i understood something.


    i’m a moon-neptune type so music is the thing

  7. Tomorrow I am going to go to one of those military cemeteries and look down at the grave of a man who would have turned 35 if he had lived. He had four kids under 11 who won’t know their dad. And he was the love of his wife’s life. And that’s the loss that’s far enough away that I can talk about it.

    You learn to survive, sometimes even thrive, to love, to live your life. But you don’t “get over” losses like that. You simple grow strong enough to carry that load and still live.

  8. I’m part of the propaganda of war at the moment by working for army news. And i’m ok with it.. better than propagating news IMO because I believe that if you join the army you’re better off focusing on the training and the toys then the day your legs may get blown off. Just today though I worked on a story about a man receiving a medal for losing his legs and one arm in afghanistan. His wife had to fight to get it awarded by someone of rank and have it put on the news. I’m sure the loss of his limbs will never truly be reconciled. The medal and ceremony is just spin at the end of the day. But if it eases his loss then I’m there to tell his story.

  9. When Pluto conjuncted my Neptune in the 5th a few years ago, I learned this lesson pretty strongly. My Neptune in Sag conjuncts my sun (wide orb at 6 deg, but I feel it so strongly that I don’t separate them). I learned that there is no holding on to some relationships, which was mind-blowingly painful (V. in Scorp in the 4th).

    I remember you talking about your daughter at that time, Elsa, and thinking that I just could not comprehend the depth of that at all, as I was overwhelmed by the loss of someone whom I intellectually knew ought to be gone from my life. Mice to elephants… but my mouse filled my whole vision. It wasn’t just the loss of him but the innocence of thinking, as you said, that life doesn’t always come out well– or fair, or right, either.

    That loss for me comes back as strength. I look at it as perhaps it prepared me for the current loss of my family and fiance. But I would NEVER want to go through it again.

  10. (((marjita)))

    when i read about other people’s immense losses i feel mine are small in comparison, but i know of loss impossible to resolve…and yes, we grow ‘strong enough to carry that load and still live’ …so well said, marjita

  11. My nephew. My sis went into his room because she thought he’d overslept and he was hanging from his bed. He was twelve.

    We don’t know if he meant to die or if he was just depriving himself of oxygen and it all went down way wrong.

    Our lives are sort of before/after that event. That was a very hard funeral. You felt the potential and the loss, it was sharp. Grown men were crying. Nothing will make it better, ever.

  12. I sat next to a girl in Spanish class in high school, also competed on a speech and debate team with her. Great girl, great friend, funny as all get out. I had wonderful luck with gal pals in Spanish class, come to think of it. Venus in Gemini in the 9th! Never thought about it that way.

    Dead at 17 in a car crash. Still can’t wrap my mind over the fact that she’s gone, gone twice over already.

    A father gone suddenly.

    Close, hard hugs to all who’ve suffered shocking losses. Mine was enough, but some of your stories are just grievous.

  13. I have always attributed Pluto in my 1st house with all the losses I have experienced in my life. In a space of 10 years, I lost a child, my mother (my best friend), my father, my grandfather and then in this decade, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandmother, close friends, and for so many I was literally there when they passed and there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think of one of them because everyone had touched my life in inmeasurable ways….Moonpluto, I can’t hear someone talk of their mother without feeling that pang. I miss mine so much at times, it literally hurts my heart.
    I tend to be very sentimental about the past and one of my things now is to concentrate on the future and not live so much in the past. I have to engage and be conscience of the people around me now.
    Thank you again for writing so “right for the moment”, Elsa….sweet girl…

  14. Avatar
    Stellium in Taurus

    I am in tears reading some of these stories. Yes I too like many here discovered the hard way that some things are not resolvable. The hardest part for me was coming to terms with that fact. Prior, I fought it hard. I just KNEW there had to be an explanation for certain events, but the explanations never came. So for me, accepting this fact was some sort of resolution in itself, not whole or complete or course, but still something.

  15. Avatar

    Elsa – you always do a wonderful job, every damned time. Thank you for this. Sometimes I hate the neptune in my chart, sometimes it helps me transcend or help someone near me move beyond. Sad the woman had that experience with you, glad we all get to learn from it 😀

  16. @ Stellium in Taurus and DenaMaria, one of my two closest friends, Jenn, says “There is no why.” Her husband, my other closest friend died last June in an accident where she broke her neck among other things.

    She’s right. There is no why. What there is is a way through, a way to survive.

  17. Hi Elsa:

    I actually think that maturity begins when begin to tally our unresolveable losses. Not just ours, but everyone’s. From my perspective, telling someone clearly that they are approaching their relationships from a fantasy and it might not at all work out the way they expected is not a cruel thing to say — it’s just the reality — but from my perspective, unbearable losses are a part of life and no one escapes. So it’s not a special curse, it’s just a fact about the human condition. A lot of our unwarranted fear comes from the fantasy that somehow we will be spared; somehow our fate is special and nothing bad will ever happen. Bad things happen to other people but not to us because we’re smarter or nicer or pray every day or have better birthcharts. It seems to me that if adults were more accepting of loss they would be kinder to themselves, and to each other. No one would ever have to be ashamed again of circumstances that were really beyond their control.

    Still I’ve discovered ( with my moon mars neptune problem) that it’s sometimes better, kinder, and gentler not to say everything I know. For example a friend of mine was telling me about her aging father and his symptoms. I instantly knew — having a relative with the same symptoms — what was probably wrong, and that he would probably die, probably soon.

    I really had to stop myself. People know more than you give them credit for sometimes, and sometimes denial is their only defense. But that was a lesson I had to learn, because if it were me I would want that information right away. I’ve gotten in terrible trouble assuming everyone else was like me.

    I know how bad it can really be. But some people think that never getting married to the man of their dreams is the worst thing that could ever possibly happen to them. They’re lucky that way, you know?

  18. I experienced loss early in life.. My mother had a mental illness and was an alcoholic so I lost my mother under all these influences and my father was under a Pluto transit at the same time so I believe that I felt the effects of his grief also.. (my sun is in 8th house) I understood death and grief very early and I have some friends who never experienced it and it’s quite interesting to listen to their fear of grief and loss… I have a… well… maybe detach way of understanding it but it doesn’t eliminate the emotions.. I just adopted an objective way of dealing with it but feelings are still there… I think some of my objectivity has blocked my most intense emotions because I fear losing control under these feelings.. (I’m an Aquarius).. and I’ve also adopted the no-veil policy.. I HATE being blinded because I feel horrible after the veil is lifted… I can’t control my veil (only my reactions) but I refuse to not confront my fears because it hurts so much later on… I understood young that I lost my mom and that I should look after myself.. As a kid, I didn’t feel my emotions too much but when she died (I was 18) it all went loose… although not at her funeral but more at home alone in my room. I felt relieved in a way (FOR her) and angry at the same time (AT her) for a lot of reasons… A couple years later when Pluto squared my stellium in Pisces (venus-mars-moon), I felt the baggages that I was carrying with me and what it was doing to my life… That’s when the decision to lift the veil happened! Boy, was it hard for a while and I believe I’m still not done dealing with it now that Pluto has entered my 7th house..

  19. Sweethiez – I understand this – been there too. In the end its as Elsa says – well there is no end to it, it just gets more familiar.

  20. I learned at an early age about loss. My father was an alcoholic and when my parents split up when I was seven I never saw him again. I waited for him for twelve years to come and visit me. And then he died when I was 19. There was no chance of visiting then. No more chances for reconciliation. (At least on this plane of existence). When I was 22 my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She fought and suffered for a year and passed two weeks after my 23rd birthday. This loss was immeasurable. How could I have no parents? My future children will never know her? Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her or miss her.

    This is a poem that I read once written by a young girl who lost her mother. It is very poignant and describes so well what I went through at that time:

    Mourning Pictures by Honor Moore

    Ladies and gentlemen, my mother is dying.
    You say “Everyone’s mother dies.”
    I bow to you, smile. Ladies, gentlemen,
    my mother is dying. She has cancer.
    You say, “Many people die of cancer.”
    I scratch my head. Gentle ladies, gentle men,
    my mother has cancer, and, short of some miracle,
    will die. You say “This has happened many times before.” You say “Death is something which repeats itself.” I bow.
    Ladies and gentlemen, my mother has cancer
    all through her. She will die unless there’s
    a miracle. You shrug. You gave up religion
    years ago. Marxism too. You don’t believe in
    anything. I step forward. My mother is dying.
    I don’t believe in miracles.
    Ladies and gentlemen, one last time:
    My mother is dying. I haven’t got another.

    1. Pallas Athena, This poem brought tears. There’s still a hole in my heart. My mom died of cancer almost 52 years ago.

  21. Not so much myself, but my husband… He lost both of his parents within a couple-few years of each other in his late 20’s and early 30’s. He had a lot of unresolved issues with both parents, and both died somewhat suddenly, when he wasn’t present. He’s in his 40’s now, and is still trying to process and resolve those issues for himself.

  22. Something I notice in my daily life: often if someone tells me their stories of loss, I feel it, feel it, deeply, I can cry for them. Not out of pity but out of the sheer immensity of their experience, the depth, the process, the pain. How did they survive? As well, it’s kind of like joining them there, sitting there with them in their loss, being a witness but being more than a witness. Climbing in. –I’m not afraid of people’s experiene. There is a dignity to it. It’s not a weakness. And in a way it is a gift. Because now that person has the gift to help others, they led the way. They can choose to offer up some wisdom. So that’s the high side. (Not that I wouldn’t return my gifts – I absolutely would. And ive seen people not be able to use their experience.)

    But what gets me is if I then share MY story (whichever loss story it is) and they go OH what you went thru is SOOOO much worse than me. Here I was feeling bad? BUT YOURS is so much worse.

    I hate that. I WISH people would own their shit, own their pain, own their loss and not go back hiding in the hole by comparing.

    I don’t believe in comparing and saying so and so’s is worse or better than mine. That’s not how it works. People who suffer from PTSD have similar symptoms across the board: it matters not to the brain if it’s from abuse or from seeing war or almost dying in a plane — the mind doesn’t care….

    Denamaria: I feel the same way, the heart-hurt.

    I am trying to get a point across and I feel like I can’t quite reach it but I know it has something to do with the difference between dignity and distancing–

    Hearing about someone’s pain? yeah, I get it. I also have pluto in the 1st. Pluto and moon fused so yeah I get it (moon being home/mother/family/and all the other buzzwords). Some days I still feel like the walking wounded–

    When my mother died, I had friends run away from me, friends ignore, friends not understand my moods, friends afraid — everyone projecting their stuff because they where thinking “oh thank God it didn’t happen to me” — and in my little pluto mind I would think: it IS going to happen to you. Sooner or later. It will be them or it will be you. Someone has to die first! I’m not at all cavalier though. I feel the weight of these things in my bones.

    It’s funny — I think I was always this way. When my childhood friend contacted me on Facebook, he reminded me that when we were kids, I was the only one who would talk to him after his father died, the only one who would try to… be there (?). These things are innate I guess — like any personality trait, not good or bad but just there.

  23. great post. I have lost quite a bit. I am at a place of acceptance, because I can work with what I’ve got. I do have epic neptune and tend to be too optimistic, but I had loss from the very beginning, there was never a time when I didn’t know.

  24. @Denamaria, I feel you…

    I have first house Pluto, too; seven degrees from first house Uranus. I have lost so much that it sometimes becomes difficult to discern between ‘cutting one’s losses’, and what’s worth holding onto. I’ve been brave enough to have four children, with the spectre of loss lingering nearby to haunt, and sometimes even scare me. I’ve been a hypervigilant, if not neurotic mother, and have worked hard to balance that with living in the moment; and the daily — sometimes hourly — practice of gratitude for them.

    I lost my mother when I was five, my dad basically ran her off and remarried. With having lost my mom, well, her whole side of the family; I wasn’t even in kindergarten yet, and I felt the losses piling up higher than I was tall ! I think I ‘dealt’ with it by becoming severely accident-prone, including ending up in the bottom of a swimming pool, then being revived. So, irreconcilable loss is difficult for even those who don’t fully grasp the full breadth of it yet; but my early ones were a point of reference for me as I experienced more losses as an adult.

    For me, it has left me with a struggle to find meaning for my life — having the kids, I at least have a reason. I sense the struggle for the rest of you, and I truly empathise.

  25. Avatar
    Stellium in Taurus

    @moonpluto: “I’m not afraid of people’s experiene. There is a dignity to it. It’s not a weakness. And in a way it is a gift.”

    Very well said.

  26. Hello Elsa,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now.

    Finally now have the courage to jump in the pool here with the other fine folks here.

    I’ve got to say, Man-o-Man, your words heal my heart! Your words sew up what I couldn’t, just by name it.
    God bless you!

  27. My brother had a severe drug addiction that started when he was really young (something like 12, with less intense drugs like pot, while he avoided our household/family) and then grew to much worse. My father didn’t get involved. My mom was too sick to do so. I stuck by him, loved him, through and through. When he wasn’t high or withdrawing, he was brilliant and had a great heart and maybe I just kept seeing this potential in him that I didn’t want to see go away.

    He died of Cancer at 22. Didn’t tell anyone that he was sick, I didn’t know. It hit all of us like a whirlwind within a week in September. I think that he didn’t find a reason to live anymore…

    Unresolvable? Yes. The hurt surfaces. Not all the time, but enough. It’s easier to deal with his death six years later but his memory hasn’t gone anywhere. I still feel loved by him and have forgotten the pain of growing up. By the time he passed, my mother was gone for 7 months, and so there is comfort in at least knowing that they are together wherever they are…

  28. moonpluto, I think you make a brilliant point about comparing loss. It can’t be done. It is about the immensity of the experience for the person who is in it. You are very wise.

    Elsa, I remember this lady in the class and I remember your great take on her story. Thank you for the follow-up, it’s interesting for me to read what may/may not have happened afterward. If she did go out and marry someone rather than have the veil drop, is that a bad thing? What she wanted was a permanent relationship, right? I don’t remember the elements of her chart specifically, but in addition to Neptune, is it a Jupiter story?

    I am amazed at the idea of people believing things will come out well. I think this is personal to me and my chart perhaps, but I have always had the opposite expectation. Everything that’s been given to me, I walk around believing that I will lose it, perhaps in gruesome fashion. I dream about it. I say this in not any kind of depressed way, I know it sounds horribly pessimistic, but it doesn’t feel that way. I was just born with internalized loss and this must be a Pluto/IC thing.

  29. As a postscript…(what Jessica mentioned about ‘walking around believing that I will lose it’)

    If there’s anything that I learned from the severe losses in my life…its that anyone or anything can be gone at anytime. So, I try to appreciate those that are in my life while I have them. A day does not go by that I don’t tell my kids or my husband that I love them.

  30. In the past 10 years, I have lost my father even as he stands there in plain sight, and my mother has lost herself, everything she valued, her view of the world as worthwhile and good, and her will to live, even though she, too, stands here in plain sight, although she wishes she didn’t.

    From a young age, my father was far away (though not) and my mother fragile with a life that was enviable from the outside and full of pain on the inside. I felt every morsel of her pain from the time I was very young and was helpless to do anything more than love, be as good as I could, and console.. (Moon conjunct Neptune/IC in the 4th). My younger brother, an athlete, knew every minute that he was the only kid whose father not only never attended a game, ever, he never asked, never inquired what we were up to at all, and I felt his vulnerability and loss. I cried for it and did what I could at that age to make his life better.

    I have Venus conjunct Chiron and relationships are hard. They are long and true adn while friends might be in the periphery, we tend to isolate somewhat, at least a lot of the time for some years, isolate like rehab, with its ups and downs, not like the Blue Lagoon, although there is obviously good.

    I ran away from the man who was probably the love of my life if that exists, after we had decided to live together. I hadn’t yet realized the need to manually carve out the time for myself that had always been built into life. My boyfriend’s high energy personality, which I had absorbed and been energized by for years even as it was too much for most others, sudnely drove me out the door once my own equilibrium was tampered with. It was a separation that devastated both of us and on some level still does. He canceled a wedding because of it. He is now married and likes to speak occasionally but only briefly and guardedly. I lost my best friend in the world. He feels he lost more.

    In my early 30s, my boyfriend of 4 years passed away at the age of 34, leaving behind an unsigned contract with a symphony. An addiction he had conquered resurfaced with the stress of the job prospect, his dream, and perhaps the thought that he was beyond becoming addicted again. I was with him through scary detoxes, a year of rehab.. There is no real way to give someone your strength, in spite of all wishing and trying. I find myself still wanting to, even with him gone (I also have Pluto in the 1st but did not know this might entail loss).

    In my 20s I lost my beloved grandparents, who I cherished and felt closer to than anyone on the planet. None of this is fleeting. Every step informs the next. ((((all of you))))

  31. Thanks Jessica and Alicia (anytime, Alicia, anytime)

    I’m such a crabby Cancerian I’m afraid of what comes out of my mouth (my fingers as I type) these days!

  32. Yes. Multiple times.

    I keep hoping that it won’t come back and then it does. Makes me wonder how resilient I really am… Is it truly healthy to get these shocks, does it serve a purpose, or is it just proof that I haven’t healed? Wouldn’t it be better to forget and wall it off?

    Yeah, Aqua moon. Fuck a bunch of feelings.

  33. If you walk through any old graveyard you’ll see so many childrens graves, because almost all families lost children to childbirth or diseases which are now curable or preventable. In history this level of health is unprecedented. I think that contributes to the myth.

  34. moonpluto, that’s a big story and powerfully told. Thanks for sharing it. Everyone’s stories are, really. Thank you for sharing them and sorry for my tome, which isn’t all life or death, obviously. I don’t think about myself that much. Moon/Neptune conjunct IC? And writing myself down sometimes helps, makes things feel more concrete. Thanks for everyone’s stories.

  35. Yes – I know this all too well. The past 6 months have been brutal for me in this respect. Time ‘may’ reverse some of it, but the wounds will NEVER heal and at this point, I can only assume that the losses are permanent.

  36. I lost my brother who was like a twin to me 8 years ago and now I have to tell someone from his past that he is gone. I am dreading this call since the reminder is just too painful.

  37. Avatar
    the laughing goat

    “There is such a thing as loss and situations that are unsolvable.”

    Yes, yes, yes.

    When I fully accepted and understood this, my life changed and bloomed and grew in ways I never could’ve imagined.

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