A seventeen-year-old girl named Sadie Miller was fatally stabbed outside Hendersby Park last night. She went to School locally, at Derby Secondary School and will be greatly missed. Her body was found at 6:03am this morning by an early morning jogger, who was distraught after seeing her mangled body.
We are all deeply saddened by our town’s great loss and you are invited to join us for Sadie’s funeral on Saturday 14th March and her memorial service on Saturday 22nd March.
A pile of tissues surround me as I blow my nose for what feels like the hundredth time today. I feel terrible. I don’t want to move, but I get up grudgingly to wash my face. The tear streaks are easy to get off but my eyes stay stubbornly red-raw.
After hearing the news about Sadie two days ago, I haven’t stopped crying. I took Thursday and Friday off school after I caught a glance of the headline of our town’s weekly newspaper and realised why she didn’t return my calls.
I can’t bear to go to school without her, to sitting alone at lunch and watching everyone else enjoying their day, not knowing - not caring - about what happened to Sadie.
Today’s Saturday, her funeral. I’ve been dreading this day ever since I found out about Sadie.
For one thing, people think it’s okay to mourn for people before their funeral, but after the funeral, they just think it’s a little pathetic. I don’t know why people think that, do people just believe you magically say goodbye to their presence once their body is buried?
My new black dress lies limp and bedraggled on my crumpled duvet. Mum bought mourning clothes for our whole family yesterday when she went to the shopping centre but she thinks I need it the most. After all, Sadie is - was - my best friend.
Sadie’s mum asked me to do a speech after hers at the funeral. At first I was completely against it, I didn’t want to humiliate myself in front of everyone I’ve ever known, but decided I would honour her memory. Sadie would have wanted me to speak at her funeral.
Yesterday, I worked on my speech for about an hour. I was crying the whole day so I didn’t really have it in me to write a masterpiece of a speech.
“Are you ready sweetie? We’re going in about five minutes,” Mum calls from downstairs. I can hear her rushing my brothers to put on their shoes. Mum's been pestering me about seeming distant since Sadie's death, my expression dreamy all the time. I don’t know what she expects. My best friend just died.
I sigh. I haven’t even got dressed.
“Coming, mum!” I sniff loudly, my nose running. I languidly slip my dress over my head.
After getting in the car, I regret my choice of not bringing a cardigan. I rub at my arms vigorously in a poor attempt to warm myself up. Today isn’t going great, especially as I am shivering so much my teeth are chattering. It’s supposed to be spring but it feels like January again.
The service doesn’t start immediately, and I am completely stuck for what to do. Sadie would usually be my saviour in these kinds of situations. I look around to see my mum chatting to a girl I vaguely remember sitting next to at lunch in year seven. When I look round again, I see Sadie’s mum, Claire, coming over to me. I don't really want to talk to anyone right now; I wish people would just leave me alone.
“Hi Maddy! Are you okay there?” she says cheerfully.
“I’m fine,” I reply, hoping this will close the conversation. I know, she is someone to talk to, but I much prefer standing here on my own. She doesn’t seem to notice my short tone.
“Oh great! Have you got your speech ready, I’ve got mine,” she tells me, waving a few large sheets of paper at me. I look at it, horrified. My tribute to Sadie will take around twenty seconds and I thought it would be fine until I saw Claire’s. I hold up my tiny sheet miserably but don’t say anything. She awkwardly tries to start up some small talk but it’s clear neither of us really want to.
She sidles away, after telling me to meet her at the reception in around twenty minutes. I walk over to a small bench under a tree and lean against it. My eyes start to water again but I blink back my tears. I don't want all these people to see my tears spurting down like a broken tap.
After around fifteen minutes of standing around doing nothing, I walk up to the reception entrance. My dress droops dolefully around me as if it can sense how I’m feeling. Claire sees me and starts talking.
“Okay, so, everyone will come into the chapel in about five minutes and after the service and after playing her favorite song at the end, we will go up to the front to recite our speeches for our Sadie.” She turns away, the smile fading from her face. I can see the tears welling in her eyes as she says her daughter’s name.
I nod at her quickly, fumbling around for my speech. I had it in my dress pocket a few minutes ago! I was reading through it trying to memorise it. I start looking about the small room, just in case I’d dropped it somewhere. Frantically, I upturn some of the tables but it definitely isn’t here.
“I-I’m just going to the toilet,” I quickly say to Claire, and rush out. I walk briskly over to where I was standing before and look around. It’s freezing and windy right now and my arms are covered in goosebumps. I must have dropped it somewhere. I look around frantically but can’t seem to find it anywhere. I did memorise it though… maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.
I walk back to Claire, and it seems she didn’t notice I walked out the complete opposite direction to the toilet. We walk towards the chapel and my ears immediately catch the song playing in it. It’s such a beautiful song… every day before bed, Sadie would listen to it. She would listen to it everywhere, but especially at our sleepovers. I blink back the tears I didn’t know were in my eyes.
I can’t cry… I can’t.
Claire rushes me into the chapel, putting her cool hand on my shoulder before she goes up to the front to read her speech. It’s wonderful, talking about all the memories she’s had with Sadie and how much she loved her.
No one else in the chapel can spot the tiny tear running down Claire’s cheek.
I chew on my lip, anticipating. After Claire’s finished her speech, she smiles at me, gestures me to go on stage.
I take a deep breath and then walk onto the platform.
I don’t start immediately, but take a long look at the people in front of me. So many people from our class are in the crowd and I can see our teachers and loads of people from our Primary School. So many people are here. I glance at Claire who’s nodding and smiling at me.
I smile back, then start.
"Sadie was such a beautiful, intelligent, young woman with so much potential. She had so many plans for her future and I know it’s hurting everyone in this room to know she’ll never achieve any of those things, but that doesn’t mean we should forget up on her. She meant the world to me- to every one of us. Knowing Sadie, her loving, kind, beautiful self, she wouldn’t want us to grieve and cry, but honour her memory. So I ask everyone today, don’t sob at the mention of her name, just remember all the wonderful things she had accomplished in her- too short- life. Thank you.”
I walk silently back to Claire who pulls me into a hug. A few people clap, most don’t. I wish I could follow my speech and never sob at the mention of her memory, but it’s too hard.
I can feel my eyes stinging as a fresh round of tears comes on.
Sadie, a beautiful, amazing friend, I don’t know if I’ll ever get over her death.