Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Day 4, Loss at the Cemetry Gates

Loss. Where do we begin when we talk of loss? It’s so easy to talk of loss as an ending. But given time, you realise that the loss is just a beginning. It will be more sorrowful in the days, weeks, months, or even years to come. Yet, it will prepare us to who we will become.

Death. Breakups. Failures. We will all go through that, in a similar vein that metal needs to go through fire and hammer to take form.

I lost my Dad when I was 6. He was a military officer. I am an only child, and my Mom was left alone to take care of me. But we were never truly alone as we belong to a huge provincial family. They never left and for that I am grateful.

But things changed after my Dad’s death, as things do when there is loss. I was spoiled and everybody went out of their way to spoil me even more. I was cushioned and protected from all the other possible pains in the world.

I didn’t learn how to bike, I might skin my knees.

I had service to go through and from school, I might get hurt on the way.

I was never left alone, I might get too lonely.

It was suffocating. Given some distance, I do appreciate the love and effort that everybody extended my way. But as I grew up, I learned to fight my way to independence.

I fought. I rebelled. I exploded.

I moved to college when I was sixteen. I was scared. But it was the beginning of fire that lit up inside of me. Time and again, I felt that fire grow dim, but it never died.

I finally have my independence. I studied hard. I made new friends. I worked hard. There would be times that I would go back home to live, when life gets too tough and I have no money to survive. But the independence never went away.

I am myself. In a constant process of being and becoming.

Yet, the pain of loss never really goes away. It is always there.

There are times that I would remember. I would have a quiet moment. I would cry.

I remember when my Dad would take me to the amusement park. He is a great shot and he can win candies and toys shooting at the fair. He would carry me when I am tired. He would play with me often. Or as often as he can, given that he is away for most days.

I still have that tiny 3-wheeled red bike that he got me when I was very young. He did let me ride a bike, but he had to go away before I really learned how to.

They say you need to learn balance when you learn how to ride a bike. For a long time, there is no balance in my life.

But maybe later on.


Maybe someday, I’ll see my Dad at the cemetry gates.

We’ll talk.

I remember not crying during his wake. I only cried in the church, as I was holding the incense. I remember thinking that we would never play again and I wish I had more time to play with him. It was the only time I cried when I was 6.

I will cry many times over growing up, until now. Today. At this moment.

I want to ask my Dad if he ever read John Keats. Or does he prefer Oscar Wilde?

I want to tell him I visited the house that Keats died in. He was overlooking the Spanish Steps by the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Keats loved Rome most and I saw why.

Or would he prefer to talk about Oscar Wilde and his take on the human condition of the 19th century?

I discovered Cemetry Gates by The Smiths when I read Love is a Mixtape. I’ve always remembered him whenever I play this song. I want to ask my Dad if he ever listened to The Smiths, did he have the time?

What music did he listen to? What books did he read?

I know he loved Blowing in the Wind and that he read The Art of War. Copies are still at home.

But what did he think of them?

What did he love? Hate? What were his passions? What made him laugh? Are we the same? Different?

I can romanticise as Keats and Yeats. But reality is, Oscar Wilde is on my side.

My Dad, will always be remembered, not only as he was lost, but as he lived.

He lived. He loved. He died.


Note: Day 4 is really challenging. Loss is hard to talk about. My key loss is the loss of my Dad at a very young age. I had to grow up and learn how to deal with such a loss, while most of my peers are running about in the playground. And the twist is that there are two more articles to follow-up the first one. Like so many others, I’ve had loss in my life but whether or not I would want to share it is another story. I used The Smiths as an anchor. Music makes it easier somehow, yet more deeply felt.


12 comments on “Day 4, Loss at the Cemetry Gates

  1. HumaAq
    April 9, 2015

    Very touching piece..

  2. HumaAq
    April 9, 2015

    And feel sorry for your loss, wish you strength

  3. Priceless Joy
    April 9, 2015

    This was very heart-touching and I felt glued to reading it from the beginning. Your emotions come across very well and you engage your readers. You got me emotionally involved. It was very sweet.

    • Portia Placino
      April 9, 2015

      Thank you very much. Your comment is very sweet and encouraging. I’ve always felt fear when trying to write about emotions. It’s heart-warming to read comments like yours, I never thought I have the capacity to engage.

      • Priceless Joy
        April 9, 2015

        You did an excellent job. Try not to be afraid, you are spreading your wings and it seems a little scary at first but gets easier.

        • Portia Placino
          April 9, 2015

          Thank you. This would need some getting used to. But it is a very liberating feeling.

  4. desleyjane
    April 9, 2015

    Beautiful and heartfelt Portia, I am so very sorry for your lost moments.

  5. Christoph_Orr
    April 9, 2015

    This must have been a very difficult challenge for you. Not only in writing, but in coping with your loss.
    The final passage of unanswered questions is particularly touching. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Portia Placino
      April 9, 2015

      Yes it was. It is something that will always be with me. Each of us has sorrow and it is always challenging. Thank you for reading and sharing the journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on April 9, 2015 by in Portia's Narratives, Random Writings and tagged , , , , , , .



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,572 other followers

Follow Portia Placino on WordPress.com


At 5 months with fair neck strength, I decided we should dress her up in her fancier clothes. Lol. The first fancy onesie, her Grandma Mely bought her, she immediately spat up on. Her next dress, another one from her Grandma, didn't last 10 minutes on as she decided to grab and eat it. Lol. This was her third outfit, which I bought for her some time ago, at least lasted a few hours on her. I wore a blue dress so we can match for a photo, but before we could, she already managed to drool all over her top. The day ended with her St. Patrick's romper, a favorite. I love dressing her for comfort, so she sort of have a more uniform, cute, casual look. I am impressed with moms who can manage an #ootd. Lol. #gamerchef did most of the dressing part and he has infinite patience. Afterall, the little one is a complete Daddy's girl. Onwards, your grandparents have been bugging me about your clothes, at least now we have a photo. But honestly, babies are babies. I think her organic cotton rompers and jammies are the ones she loves most. I keep on buying the same at a larger size. #babynarratives
The little one is 5 months old today. We had an incredibly challenging month to get here--sleeplesness, eczema, congestion, etc. But here we are, with a very active baby. She gained 650 grams in the past month, which puts her at 5.65kg. Whew, she's heavy. And she wants to be carried all the time, my poor back... I know some people advocate not carrying your baby because it spoils them, but you know what, she's not gonna be a baby forever. She's already flipping around the bed and before we know it she's gonna crawl and walk and run away from us. Right now, what we're fostering is a bond. And hopefully, through her bond with her parents, she will have the security and confidence to face the big, bad world. Speaking of the world, our comrades are out there protesting. Someday we will join them. I hope Leia grows up intelligent, compassionate, strong, and brave. I hope she will be able to make choices that are right, even though they are difficult, rather than sitting idly by for what is easy. The world is harsh and life is hard, so I hope she knows what is truly valuable in life, rather than spending her entire time looking for money and comfort. May she fight for the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden. May she find meaning and purpose in a life well lived. I hope she will stand for her country and her fellow Filipinos. But for now, she still needs to learn how to sit. #babynarratives
Part 2 of shopping for allergen-free food, this time at Healthy Options. Funny how rice is the most important ingredient for most gluten-free product. We got some rice and quinoa snacks, rice pasta, and rice milk! Lol. I'm just gonna have to eat more rice. Will also try this gluten-free cereal. The trickiest and spendiest part is the cookie. Lots of gluten-free options, but they would have nuts and egg... Lots of vegan options but they would have gluten and nuts. Frustrating. Until I saw that allergy friendly cookie box. But sooo spendy, so I can't indulge on that too often. Onwards to this journey. After which, I will have to slowly reintroduce such allergens to baby and to myself as well. For now, we're all about no dairy, eggs, nuts, and gluten diet. #babynarratives #breastfeeding
Received a call from @thevegangrocerph because they saw my ig post and realized that their staff sent me the wrong cream cheese. They accidentally sent me a nut-based one, rather than this coconut-based one. Mistakes happen and I'm glad they care to call and correct the situation. The little one really does not like nuts, good thing I have not opened it yet. Whew. Looking forward to opening this, the closest I can get to cheese for now. I'm happy to see this is locally produced as well, like most of their products. Hopefully, we can give little one time to strengthen her immunity so later she can eat all kinds of food. #babynarratives #veganph
Ok, two days of intense discussion and what feels like a small fortune--here we are. @thevegangrocerph is great, they patiently answered all my questions and guided me to the products I am looking for. No-dairy and no-eggs mean that vegan would be the answer. But on top of that, I was also looking for no-gluten and no-nuts. So ordering was a very complex process. What I've got here is bread (I NEED bread), edamame pasta, rice noodles, dark chocolate cookies, dark chocolate cake, and coconut cream cheese. All of them have no dairy, egg, gluten, or nuts. I am not going vegan, I am not even trying to lose weight. I am just trying so damn hard to produce allergen-free breastmilk to help my baby along. She had eczema and is displaying allergic reactions. I already cleaned up my diet but not completely, with snacks of things here and there. So here I am, a month later, determined to hit every single possibility. Exhausting, but I will try every damn thing I can. Let's see what we can cook up with this. I am sooo dependent on bread and pasta--cutting them off will be the hardest of all, not to mention the desserts! The mini cake, it is my belated birthday cake. Let's hope for the little one to defeat her allergies! #babynarratives #veganph #breastfeeding
Tried to give her a blanket because she might be cold, but she thought it was just a big toy. Lol. Stormy day with little one is challenging, but we did get some smiles. #babynarratives
%d bloggers like this: