“This is a massive loss,” Justine Damond’s Sydney friend Sally* tells me on Wednesday morning. “It all seems quite senseless.”
The word “senseless” often becomes a crutch that we rely on during hard times. But when describing the death of Justine Damond, a woman who inspired and changed the lives of so many, no other word seems to adequately fit. Ask the people who loved her. Nothing comes close.
“She touched the lives of so many people, but she did more than that as well,” Sally says. “She actually really helped people, too. She really changed our lives.”
The Sydney woman, who moved to the US in 2015, was shot and killed on Saturday after police officers responded to a 911 call she placed about a possible sexual assault occurring in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.
Sally, who attended the Wednesday morning Freshwater Beach vigil held in the 40-year-old's honour continued, "I know it sounds really weird, but she just spread a lot of joy. That photo of her smiling... was her times a thousand. She was totally authentic, and there was just no bullshit."
Brought together by mutual friends via Soul Sessions - a series of educational spiritual workshops created by Eloise King - several years ago, Sally says that from the outside, it could be easy to write off Justine and her profession as a meditation teacher and spiritual coach as "a bit Nimbin hippy." But as someone who was personally helped through one of the hardest periods of her life with Justine at her side, she says to do so would be to discredit her.
"Just because it's something we may not understand or may not have been exposed to, it doesn't make it any less legitimate," she says, before pointing out that in her earlier years, Justine had, like many of us, gone to university and landed an impressive job fresh off graduating, but eventually, found herself wanting more. Unlike many of us, though, she actually did something about it and took the leap into the unknown.