Days after a Massachusetts family of five was killed in a murder-suicide carried out by the father, a friend of the mother’s is struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
“It’s going to be a long healing process,” Sarah Wall tells PEOPLE as she reflected upon the death of Deirdre Zaccardi and her family.
On Monday morning, Deirdre, 40, and her husband, Joseph, 43, along with their three children, 11-year-old Alexis and 9-year-old twins Nathaniel and Kathryn, were found dead in their Abington home. Authorities have confirmed that Joseph fatally shot his family before turning the gun on himself.
Wall met Deirdre in 2014 when she joined a local support group for mothers of twins and other multiple sets of children, and she instantly hit it off with Deirdre.
“Who wouldn’t be drawn to Deirdre? She’s incredible funny, sarcastic, witty,” Wall says. “She’s unapologetically herself at all times and we just loved her for that.”
Over the next few years, the pair carpooled to monthly meetings, and Wall says she will cherish that time forever. They eventually brought their children together for playdates. Wall remembers Deirdre and her husband as attentive parents who always seemed to be doing something fun, like hosting family movie nights.
“They were always doing things,” Wall recalls. “They were that family that had a summer bucket list.”
While Deirdre was “bubbly” and outgoing, Wall describes Joseph as shy in comparison. During the day, when Deirdre was at work as the office manager of a Boston marketing consulting firm, Joseph, a struggling children’s book author, would be at home.
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When she learned of Deirdre’s death, Wall immediately met with the support group.
“We cried and we screamed and we questioned and we talked,” Wall says. “But it was just the tip of the iceberg and we will never understand why this happened.”
As authorities continue to investigate, Wall says she repeatedly questions whether she missed any signs of trouble.
“We all questioned that yesterday, we did,” Wall says.
Today, Wall says she is taking things “one day at a time” and is trying to focus on her family while keeping her friend’s memory alive.
“She had a big personality,” Wall says. “Theres going to be a large hole in our group from that.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.