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Shona & Manny.jpg

Shona and Manny

So it’s a compass, this one here, and I inherited it from my husband Manny who died about 8 years ago. Yeah and obviously it was his . . . and now it’s mine.

We both travelled a lot together. He was from the Philippines and he also used to travel kind of on his own and stuff. And it’s still, I mean it’s a very practical thing but I guess as well it’s something that gives you direction, so when he kinda died I was a bit lost or whatever so it was kind of a nice thing. Or it’s you know, it’s very symbolic I guess if you want kinda direction or . . . then it’s a good thing to have. And also  practically I have no sense of direction! I’m really quite rubbish, but that’s fine, I like wandering about, I like to find my own way and you kind come across good things, but it’s just nice to have it there and . . . if you really need it. So I used to have it in my car, but now I prefer to just drive and see where I’m going. So it’s just, it’s very symbolic. But also you know we did, we travelled a lot and we also used it together, though it was his. So it’s good and I like to, cos I have no sense of direction, I can never remember where North is from here, but I know Scotland’s that way. So I check every now and again, make sure my house hasn’t moved.

I came to own lots of things . . . of his. But there’s not many that I’ve wanted to keep. And sometimes I kinda like to throw everything away, but I haven’t. Just cos, I don’t, you know, I kinda work off memories more than things really. So it was just there, as I said I got everything when he died.

I don’t really have any difficult memories of him. I guess the most difficult thing was when he died. So it’s not . . . and I don’t think I really work like that; we had a good relationship and I guess that the most difficult thing is that he’s not here and we have a daughter. But that’s not really a memory. So I wouldn’t say I have any.

It’s just something I have. And I guess that it’s been 8 years so I don’t think about these things a lot really. But it, you know it’s nice to have I guess something tangible . . . something I guess that is quite symbolic like that. So its always there. It’s not something I massively think about but if I need to it’s there I guess. 

He was very comfortable in his own skin, which kind of goes with a very positive outlook on life and very sort of comfortable, very solid. And just there. He was a very good . . . teacher. A teacher is a word I’d used cos he was the kind of person that really, he’d had an interesting life and he really learned from his life and incorporated that into his kind of every day. And was very good at teaching people the things he’d learnt and people really listened to him. He was quite a big personality. And then very giving. So he was from the Philippines, so I guess it’s not always an easy country to be in; there’s been a lot of struggles there or whatever. So he was very . . . he really saw the joy in life and he was very appreciative of that which is . . . also made him a good teacher or whatever. 

I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve seen lots of kinda . . . I don’t know, faith in action or whatever. I’ve met lots of people in different countries who have very different faiths to what I was brought up with. I wasn’t brought up terribly religious. And so I think each faith is valid for whoever’s into that. Personally I’m not a fan of organised religion but I understand why it’s important for people. So I would say I was (it’s a bit of a cliché isn’t it?) more spiritual. But I guess when my husband died it was, when he died and then when I saw his body, there was a little bit of time. And what was really clear for me was that whatever was him, and I guess in terms of where I’ve come from, the culture I’ve been brought up within, I would call his soul or whatever, clearly wasn’t in his body; his body was just a shell. And that was like one of the most clearest experiences I’ve had. And so that was really helpful and I dunno. So it just kind of made me realise that he was no longer there and so it was kind of almost liberating really in that, you know I could imagine his soul  or whatever just doing whatever it wanted to do or whatever, or being free I guess. Being free of his body. So perhaps that’s spiritual, I don’t know, but that experience really helped me with my grieving process. Cos I was happy for him really, it was a positive experience. And sometimes, not so much now, but when he first died, I could like really feel his presence. Which kinda made sense if he was no longer in his body. So, yeah that was a, that was a good experience.

Again, I guess it’s symbolic in that he was a very solid person. I’m very go with the flow and whatever. He was a bit more definite and directional than me so it was just nice to have someone that you can rely on in that sense. So, in those terms . . . point me in a certain direction if I needed that.

I guess in some ways . . . he died when my daughter was 6 months old and when she was born I just really knew and I had a really strong feeling that one of them would die. But I knew it would be him sort of, whatever, so I didn’t know I was going to own it specifically but I was fairly sure at that time he was gonna die and then he died 6 months later.

I always think of him as very smiling, very serene, very just kinda content with life and content with the, you know, that there is joy in life and that . . . just a kind of a knowing happy smile that everything’s going to go forward and be fine really. Which is quite nice.

I’ve lots of happy memories and I guess . . . I guess the most happy, though I don’t know whether that’s really true, but he was from the Philippines and I met him in the Philippines so we spent a lot of time, or I spent a lot of time there, with him. And we just, it’s a beautiful country, lots of islands. So we used to go island hoping and do lots of travelling and it was just a very kind of easy time. Very, you know, the sun’s shining the sea’s inviting, sort of thing. So it’s just a really good . . . yeah, lots of those memories.

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