One year ago this weekend, my friend Yafit Butwin and her three children - Malissa (16), Daniel (14) and Matthew (7) - were killed.
The brutality of their murder was devastating to those of us who knew them and shocking to the rest of our community. They were mourned by hundreds, if not thousands, and eventually their bodies were taken to Israel where Yafit was born and lived until she moved to the United States at 20 years old.
But to a small band of women who meet weekly in Chandler, Arizona, to meditate and touch base about our lives, Yafit hung around. Her spirit stays with us. She is one of us. Yafit came to meditate when time allowed. She brought excitement, energy and the type of turmoil that can only embody an active, loving mother trying to build her own career.
I knew Yafit for only about 18 months and I never saw her outside of our weekly gatherings, but she is still a powerful force in my life. I sometimes feel her in the room while we sit quietly. At other times, I feel a rush of sadness and loss over her death - not just for me but for all of us. But more often than not, I am comforted by the fact that I knew Yafit, that she gave me a glimpse into her crazy, chaotic life so filled with love and promise.
I am better for having known her.
Here's a news report about Yafit's death. Look at it or not. It's really nothing to do with her now.