Today July 31st is Posy’s birthday. She was born in the middle of a thunderstorm on a hot summer’s night when lightening zig-zagged across an emerald sky. She died, of leukaemia on Christmas Eve, 2002, a crisp blue sharp morning. That night the family gathered at our house for the traditional Polish Christmas meal. We had discussed cancelling it, but Posy’s partner, Kane was adamant that we should go ahead and so we toasted her and the baby who had died with her and celebrated the life she had led.
That evening was typified her life. Whatever Pose did, she did it wholeheartedly and with joy. She might not have made much money, but she worked as an actor even when she was ill, not that she knew how serious it was, none of us did, the kindly couple she was lodging with would bring her breakfast in bed. When she wasn’t working, in those last months, she was writing a hilariously surreal novel about her experiences as a supply teacher in various London schools, corresponding with a prisoner on Death Row, supporting Bob a random stranger she’d met on a train and who also had terminal cancer.
At her funeral we sang “Happy Birthday” her crazy idea and ate the Christmas cake she’d baked.
Later, she starred in “Sam Jackson’s Secret Video Diary.” http://www.samjacksonmovie.co.uk/beyond.html Guy Rowlands’ film about a missing woman, which was screened at the Raindance Festival in the West End and nominated for a British Independent Film Award. Who says you can’t achieve your ambition even after death?
Pose would have been sneaped, however, to have missed all her friends and family gathering in the cinema to see her. She always wanted to be there right in the middle of things and for us she still is. Her photographs are up in all our houses, we talk about her, and toast her on all her important days.
As for me, I talk to her often. When I’m down about my writing, I remember her belief in me and pick myself out of my pit of misery.
And of course she is there in everything I write. She inspired Polly in the “Dragonfire” trilogy and there are traces of her in Mouse, in “Clear Gold.” She’s Poppy in “Picking up the Pieces” and it’s her accolade that concludes the novel.
Happy Birthday, Pose. I’ve no idea what happens after death, but in the hearts and minds of your friends and family, you are still and always will be here with us.