Perwina and Tim
Right, my object is a Tibetan singing bowl and . . . I . . . I suppose I’ve inherited it from my, from my husband. It is my husband that I’m . . . wanting to talk about. It was actually something that we bought together when we were on holiday in Nepal, which was 7 years ago. And we went to a place in Kathmandu called The Monkey Temple and there were a number of places selling all kinds of tourist items. Erm but we’d . . . we already had a singing bowl and we’d been to a couple of concerts, demonstrations of them, so we were quite keen to take the opportunity to get another one, while we were you know in a place where, where they’re either made or, or used a lot of the time.
I’ve said it’s a Tibetan singing bowl, we bought it in Nepal; Nepal there’s a lot of Tibetan exiles in Nepal, particularly now, because of what’s been happening in Tibet. And there’s a, a kind of ethnic Tibetan erm group who live in Nepal anyway, so it seemed like a good place to get it. And we spent a long, long time choosing it. Erm . . . this one particularly is made out of a number of different kinds of metal and it’s unusually got designs in the inside, in the centre of it. And it’s also quite attractive because it’s got three different colours of metal. Erm, not quite sure how it’s, how it’s been made. I think they’ve been inlayed onto the outside of it. And of course we spent quite a long time trying them all out. And of course there is quite a sensory element to this object, which is based around how it feels; it’s very heavy, it’s, it’s very solid and it’s very heavy, but of course it also makes a sound, which I could demonstrate, erm and I think I might do just so that you get the idea of it. Because it does . . . it has got a really lovely sound. Which is a really nice kind of ringing sound.
And one of the things, oh there’s so many things about this as an object that remind me of my husband. Obviously there’s the time that we bought it, which was a holiday that we’d particularly planned for. It came at a very interesting time, erm March, March/April 2007. I’d just finished doing some part-time study and it was also my son’s tenth birthday, while we were actually out there on holiday. And we had friends who were living and working in Kathmandu and we didn’t know how long they were going to stay there, so they invited us over and we thought it was an opportunity that we couldn’t really miss. So we just set off and went there and erm very, very interesting really, because it is a place of massive contrasts. And I s’pose that’s something that I think, you know, I think about my husband as kind of a person of contrasts as well. Erm . . . liked travelling but didn’t do a massive amount of travelling, so it was an interesting place to be. There is something about this, which . . . does make me think about my husband and there’s the, obviously the memory of when we bought it. But like I’ve already said, it’s very heavy. It’s very solid, it’s very heavy. But at the same time it creates a sound, which is very light. And there was an element of my h. . . of the way that my husband was, that was really. . . you know he was quite practical, quite solid but he also had quite a sort of spiritual and . . . mental side to him.
So he was often, often, often in a kind of a dream world. And actually, he’s the only person I’ve ever known who regularly had dreams about himself interacting with film stars and famous people. And my dreams tend to be really quite dull with the occasional kind of nightmare, which wakes me up, and the rest of the time I don’t really know what’s going on. He would regularly wake up and say, "Oh I had this dream and I was going down the street and ya know it was Tom Hanks, or it was ya know erm Bob Dylan, or. . ." You know it could have been a whole range of people that featured in these dreams, which were wildly exciting. And he was often kind of trying to find out for himself what he thought they meant. What they signified, but I don’t really know, I’m not sure. I don’t think he ever really understood them completely and I certainly never did. Erm, so yeah he was erm, he was also very interested in . . . how do I describe it? Not the, hmm . . . er . . . psychology? I can’t quite think of the right, the right word here. Erm . . . that generalises it. He was interested in . . . what made people tick I suppose, in a general sort of way. He was interested in . . . a whole range of things but, for me he was a person who had a kind of creative inspiration. He, whilst I could be interested in all these things, he was able to take them and . . . reshape them and make them into something creative.
So, I suppose I find one of the reasons that it’s, it’s difficult to erm . . . it’s difficult to . . . be the same person that I was when he was alive, because we had, I never thought this would happen actually but just the simple fact of, of having that kind of interaction on a daily basis, a daily interaction with somebody who, who was able to turn everyday things into something creative, I think had quite an impact on me and helped me see things in a different way, which I find quite difficult to do on my own. And that’s a massive loss really. Erm . . . ya know apart from simply, ya know having the person and the relationship with the person, but the way that that’s influenced just how I go about my daily life was something that I hadn’t anticipated. But erm, I suppose knowing each other for such a long time, had built up over the years. And I sort of almost began to take it for granted really. Erm, so it’s that idea of kind of a relationship between two people becoming more than just two individual people. And that he gained different things from me I think, but the two of us together became something. You know we, we actually managed to do something, some things that neither of us probably would have done on our own. And to . . . aspire to things that neither of us would have done on our own I suppose.
So I was torn with choosing this object, cos I have a lot of other objects. Some of which are things that he’s made himself, but I think this one seemed to . . . have that essence of quite a number of different things that erm, that I think about really when I think about him. It is . . . two year. . . it’s almost two years now since he died and it, sometimes it feels like yesterday. Sometimes it feels like a really long time ago. What I have noticed is . . . time doesn’t really . . . doesn’t, it kind of makes some memories fade away and some become stronger. And it’s quite difficult to describe how that actually works really. And I can wake up one day and ya know something just suddenly comes into my mind or I still suddenly sometimes think, ooh I’ll just say that to Tim or I’ll just ya know, I’ll just ask him this or I’ll just ask him that. Erm and I have to actually remind myself that, oh he’s not there anymore. Which is ya know, it’s just difficult really.
Four words, that’s quite difficult. Creative would be one of them. He was somebody who empathised with other people, so I think that would come into it. And he also had quite . . . a calling really, he had a calling to help other people. So he did a lot of work with people who were slightly disadvantaged I suppose. Erm and one of the, the things that he, he managed to do in the last few years before he died was set up an art project for people with learning disabilities. Erm and that, he’d been working in that field but for other people and he set up his own project, which was very successful until he became too ill to run it. So I think he was quite pleased with that.
I mean I think everything in life is a paradox and ya know people have said to me, "Ooh ya know, you’re so unlucky to have lost your husband erm when he was relatively young. He was only erm tryna think how old he was now! Fifty-four? Fifty-four? Erm so he wasn’t particularly old and that’s absolutely true, course that’s true. But on the other hand . . . I do feel that ya know I was lucky to have had the time that we did have . .
. which was almost . . . it was about twenty years really. Erm twenty, twenty-one years that we were, we were together. We hadn’t quite managed the twentieth wedding anniversary, which was something that we were thinking about, which never quite came to. So it’s a, it’s very difficult because there’s kind of every time you think of something that is positive, there’s a negative to go with it. And that kind of knife edge
balance is, it’s all, seems to be very much about how you look at things.
And I think that was, something about him was really that he was trying to look at things, he always tried to look at things from other people’s perspectives as well as his own. And he was very keen to look after his, his family and his friends and make sure they made the best of their potential, I suppose. He was very generous. He was a very generous, I think that’s one of the other words that I didn’t get round to before, he
was very generous with his, his time and his energy that he invested in other people. So, I think sometimes he felt that he could possibly have been more successful himself but that just, it, that, he didn’t have that in his nature to be the kind of ruthless character that you sometimes, or quite often, need to be very, very successful. You need to have that ruthless streak, which doesn’t mind treading on other people and forging your way forward. And he didn’t really have that in him because he was always thinking about other people and what the consequences would be for them. So . . . I’ve not come across anybody who . . . who had a bad word to say about him really. And of course you could say, well ya know nobody’s going to come to me and say something terrible about him, but people have gone out of their way to say positive things about him. And it’s just surprising really in some cases, not people that I would expect but they say, "Oh Tim ya know, I remember him. He was this, he was that. He always helped me. He did this for me, he did that for me." And I think people generally have a very positive memory of him. So you know, going back to what I was saying before, that does make me feel quite lucky that I had the time that I did have.
But, you know there’s still that kind of nagging, oh it’s not really fair. You know, it’s not fair. You know we never quite got to the stage where we could sit back and relax. There was always some kind of . . . I suppose it’s the kinda stages of your life isn’t it? That you, you know when you’re very young, you don’t think about things too much but as you get a bit older you start becoming a bit more responsible and you, you sort of, you’re planning things. You’re, you’re going through slightly hard times in order to allow things to be better in the future. And we never got to the stage of it being better in the future, because we have never quite got there. So we were never able to sit back and relax with all the things that we had without having to worry about the sort of day-to-day, day-to-day things. So yeah it is, it, it’s, it is a dilemma really.
Erm . . . but I, I suppose it’s, it’s better to erm . . . I find it more helpful, I suppose, to think about the positive aspects because dwelling on the negative aspects is not very productive. Erm, and it ya know, it’s easy to go into quite a dark place really with that. So . . . I don’t think . . . he would be wanting me or you know my son as well, our son, I don’t think he would want, be wanting us to . . . give up on anything really because he’s not here. He’s not able to enjoy the things that have happened since he’s died, what’s going on. But I think, you know, his, his attitude to it and his, his sort of erm . . . his wish would have been that we would have made the best of it. And, and you know that sounds like ohh, you know, but everybody would say that and it is really, really hard. It is really hard to do that.
But . . . it’s almost like, you know I can . . . have, it’s like having a voice . . . not exactly inside my head but it’s a, kind of like a voice that’s just reminding me what he might say or what he might do or what he might, how he might react to certain things. Which is there, not kinda 24/7 but you know, quite often. Especially if I’m trying to make decisions or think about things. It sort of pops up and so ya know, try that, do this, do that. Which is, which is a . . . for me that, that’s good because it’s like there is an aspect of him which is still here even though he’s not physically here. And because he, he was quite interested in, as I said before, in the kind of non-physical aspect of life, actually there’s no reason why that shouldn’t still be here.