At first, it was strange, we didn't know what to say to anybody, what do you say in such circumstances? After the original pleasantries died down, we ended up splitting off into the cliques that we spent our primary days in, strangely enough. I was happy to stand and listen whilst everybody caught up, I haven't done much special anyway.
Eventually, me and a couple of friends (including a girl I haven't seen in 5+ years) snooped in the library, because we'd wanted to see how everything had changed. They've even changed the order they have the classrooms in; when we were there it went Reception, Years 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 6 in the way the school was laid out, however it's now Reception, Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, it actually makes sense now.
The service itself was held in the school's prayer garden (it's gotten really religious since we left). I didn't realise how many of us were actually there until we were all stood single file lining the walls of this garden. There were a couple of readings, and excerpt from John's gospel, then there was the chance to share our memories of Matthew.
At school the day before, we'd been given cards to write our memories of Matthew that would be put into a box that would be given to his mum and dad. Before the service, we were asked if anybody wanted to read theirs out, to which I said yes, as I feel when you speak, or when you write, you're letting something go, and it's freeing.
I will always remember a boy whose kind heart was always happy to accept somebody, whether as a friend or into a game on the playground. He was creative too; we must have played Power Rangers to death, but I'm sure we never played it the same way twice. I may have been a strange child, but Matthew was always able to match me, and I think that's why we got on so well. He was happy to listen and take on ideas, Matthew didn't discriminate. He was a leader, in every way, not just as the Red Ranger; he could take charge but also take heart and take into account his team.
Carry on, my Red Ranger, and so will I, because I know you're giving me strength, wherever you are
Bye Matthew, love Eve
We then were handed balloons to release - they were black, which I know is a mourning colour, but I think it'd be a better celebration of his life and his passing if it had been in colour, just a thought - then we were loosed to explore the school. In the reception classroom, I stole an orange, because we used to get them handed out at break times, and it was nostalgic. They even have pets in the classrooms, and sponsor a snow leopard. We had a hard enough time campaigning for a school newspaper, let alone animals!
Can you guess where the majority of us ended up going after primary? Also, the boy on the left bottom row isn't actually from our primary, but he was Matthew's best friend, so I think he went as a way of comfort, being around people who also feel the loss of Matthew deeply; either that or he was there as tissue smuggler, I don't even know where he was producing them from.
In the end, it was a strange afternoon, but also comforting. Somehow in such a large group of friends past and present, I was able to realise and also gain closure from Matthew's death. I think I can move past it, and yet learn from it, as I try to do from everything that impacts me. Heck, my first boy might have Matthew as a name!
I'm gonna leave you with this song, as I've kind of fallen in love with it since our memorial at school. It just feels like an anthem that says move on and remember.
Be good, love Eve <3