'When Samuel went over that wall he went home...'
Whenever Samuel Attard Montalto, 16, got home from school he would often sprint into the kitchen, throw his arms around his mother and dance or playfully wrestle his father.
"He was a gentle, loving boy, a real people person. He had a tremendous amount of life about him. It's going to be difficult to learn to live without him," his parents, Linda and Nicholas, say as they hold hands tightly.
Their son died on Sunday night when he fell seven storeys into a shaft in Sliema. He was playing hide-and-seek on the roof of a block of apartments, where his friends live, when he jumped over a low wall without realising it was a shaft.
His parents and three sisters are dealing with this sudden loss by holding on to their faith and believing that Samuel moved on to eternal life.
"His friends, who were there the night he fell, said that as soon as he went over the wall they heard an 'ah' sound, like a sudden inhalation. It was not like the sound you would expect from a person falling to his death," says his father, a leader in an Evangelical Pentecostal Church.
"I believe that was when the Lord took his spirit. It was not at the bottom but at the top of that shaft. As soon as he stepped over that wall, he went home to Jesus," his father says.
His wife agrees and adds that their youngest daughter, Abigail, 14, who was with Samuel at the time of the accident, confirmed this.
"She woke up the night after and said the 'ah' sound was because Samuel was going up and not down. His spirit was flying. He always loved jumping over things, climbing and being in the air," his mother says with conviction.
On Saturday night, Samuel and Abigail slept over at the Sliema apartment of their two friends. Abigail says the following morning they had a big breakfast complete with pancakes, which her brother ate loads of.
After that, their friends' father, a pastor, had a Bible Study about being prepared to meet the challenges of life, before they went off to a barbeque.
When they got back to the Sliema apartment, Samuel, Abigail and four of their friends went on the roof to play. Samuel then fell to his death into the shaft.
Abigail and her friend called for help but by the time the ambulance arrived he was already dead.
On being informed about the accident, Mr Attard Montalto contacted his wife who was in England with their other two daughters - Rebekah, 22, and Hannah, 20 - who live there.
Mrs Attard Montalto had left a few weeks earlier to help Hannah with the preparations for her wedding. They all flew back the day after the accident.
Samuel's mother had last seen him on October 27. The day before he fell she sent him a message on Facebook asking him whether he was eating well and telling him she could not wait to see him.
Three days after the accident, his mother checked her mail and saw his reply: "He said daddy was feeding him well and he really missed me. I was so glad to see he had managed to see my message and knew I loved and missed him," she says.
"I can't understand why this happened," says Mr Attard Montalto, his voice trembling as he adds that his faith is his only solace.
Samuel was close to God; he enjoyed reading his Bible before school and had recently helped his friends get to know Him. Three of his close friends had even started attending Church with him.
"He loved Jesus and held strong convictions about morality, which he shared with his friends.
"Samuel knew eternal life is in Jesus and as a young man he was introducing people to Him. We believe strongly that when he went over that wall he went home... Were it not for this conviction, I would be a broken, collapsed man," his father confesses.
Sitting in their living room in Żurrieq, the family rekindle moments of Samuel's life through memories.
"As a family, we spent lots of quality time together, so we've got loads of incredible memories of him as our son," Mr Attard Montalto says.
"He was just full of energy and fun. When we look back at his life we see a lot of security and happiness," his mother says softly.
His sister, Hannah, joins in: "He just had to have his arms around us whether it was a headlock or a hug. And, as he grew, he started lifting us. He was six feet tall."
With a smile on her face, Abigail adds: "He loved his six-pack and facial hair and wearing hoodies."
The sisters giggle as they think back to their childhood days when he used their dolls as target practice.
"He even loved his bunny rabbit, Nero. He loved watching television while Nero nestled in his sleeve with his nose sticking out," Hannah smiles.
"Samuel loved life and had once told us that if he died he would not want people to wear black. He'd want a colourful party," Rebekah says.
For this reason, his family ensured that people wore colourful outfits for the funeral yesterday, which was a celebration of Samuel's life.
"The tragedy happened at a time when he was truly just being a lad... playing hide and seek. He was being himself... someone full of life. That's how we want to remember him," his father says.