There is some trepidation going to a funeral of a loved one, because somehow the going makes it true, when none of us want it to be. Darling Polly. We were a strong five at school, and the remaining four of us met before Polly’s funeral, shell-shocked, almost un-uttering of the missing beautiful person because it’s too sad.
As we walked to St Michael and All Angels Church we met others who loved Polly, gathering on the pavements, coming together to celebrate her.
And in the church we were greeted by her Jane, and the memories of being in Polly’s house as teens and Jane coming home from work to find the gaggle of us filling her kitchen and eating her food, and the unbearable wrongness of losing a child.
All of us grouped together, a migration of firm togetherness, all of us from the many walks of Polly’s life shoulder to shoulder under one roof.
I think I speak for all of us when I say the overwhelming thing we felt at Polly’s funeral – alongside the rush of Pol memories and hearing her laugh that came freely and with guts and irreverence and seeing her in our mind’s eyes, and the disbelief and bitter crossness at the unfairness – was the swell of love for Martha and Rosie and Rhys, and the lining of our sadness is a want for Pol’s girls to feel, always, surrounded by their mum’s love. I didn’t hear everything that was said at her funeral, because I was thinking about them and that.
About having coffee with Pol when she was beautifully pregnant. The moment she turned around and gave her truly full of heart and generous smile when she was walking up the aisle to Rhys in St David’s Cathedral in her pile of a dress, and the speech her dad gave at her wedding which made Pol cry (and I think everyone will remember his telling of Polly locking herself out of her flat with the kettle on the stove and the fireman having a chuckle about it!). More recently, Pol and Rhys and the girls had come to lunch at ours and I’d made a low sugar meringue cake for pudding – which obviously turned out to be more of an omelette than a cake, and Pol bless her ate it anyway, laughing at the daftness of ignoring the physics of meringue, saying it wasn’t so bad, when it was, but Pol had a gift for making the most of life.
I don’t think we’ll get over Polly not being here, but maybe we’ll find ways to persuade our minds to live with it, but as several good friends of hers said at the pub after the funeral, how lucky we were to have known her and had her in our lives.