We are not much, usually, for celebrating our anniversary on May 28th, primarily because our anniversary has always coincided with the birth of my son, Daniel, on the same day. My son was my anniversary present. I needed no other. When Daniel was little I was always so exhausted by his birthday parties that I had no energy to honor my own celebration of marriage. But May 28, 2002, was different. We'd already given Daniel his Bar Mitzvah, and since he had been deluged with love and attention – not to mention presents – we didn't need to mark his birthday. Instead we went out to lunch, just my husband and me.

She has no idea of the suffering that can be part of lifeWhen we walked into the restaurant, a waitress greeted us with an enormous smile, telling me that she liked my skirt. This young woman, with her dark, black shiny hair, had a spirit and effervescence I could only admire. I thought to myself: she has no idea of the pain I am living with, the weight of what I carry. Thank G‑d she has no idea of the suffering that can be part of life, the way that every happiness that I experience now is infused with loss. Thank G‑d she is innocent of that.

As my husband and I ate our meal, we realized that the restaurant was a perfect place to commemorate what would be Koby's upcoming fifteenth birthday. We wanted to take fifteen poor or disadvantaged people out to dinner to mark Koby's birthday – to add joy to the living.

We spoke to the manager about our plans. He said that he volunteered at a nearby center that helped disadvantaged teens from poor, broken families and he thought the teenagers would appreciate going out with us. The idea was materializing almost on its own. We hadn't thought about taking teens for a meal, but it made sense. After all, Koby was a teen when he was killed. We felt that Above, Koby was pulling some strings to help us organize his birthday. When we told the managers that Koby's birthday was on a Friday, he said that they normally didn't serve lunch on Friday's, but he would open the restaurant especially for our group.

We thanked him and before he walked away, my husband said: "Do you know the Goodman family? They lived around here. They lost their son this year in an accident – we went to the shiva – and I wanted to know how they were doing."

"You can ask them yourself. Your waitress is their daughter."

We told her of our loss and she shared her ownI looked at her, at her beauty and her spirit, and I thought – you never know what's going on inside a person. I had so misjudged her. She came over to the table, and we told her of our loss and she shared her own. I felt like we were sisters of the soul. I told her what I had thought when I first saw her – how untouched she was by pain, how innocent. We talked about the pain of living with death; how it's a weight that can crush you or make you stronger, depending on how you carry it. We told her how wonderful it was to have her as our waitress on this day, since we had been fearful of celebrating our anniversary.

As we spoke, I realized how much of life is hidden. We don't see what's inside of people. Inside of almost everybody is a pocket of pain – some pockets are bigger, some are smaller – but they are always there. We can't see somebody else's heartache until they share it with us. I find that when I don't share my pain, it is like an unwanted guest at the table, somebody who demands fancy china, ironed napkins; a guest with whom I can never feel comfortable. But when I share the pain, it becomes somebody I can live with. Somebody who will sit at the table with me in pajamas. I don't have to stand on ceremony with it.

Which is the way Yael, the waitress, treated us. Suddenly we looked up to see her carrying a piece of cake with a sputtering sparkler candle in the middle.

"Happy Anniversary," she said to us with a huge smile on her face.

I can't help but feel that Koby arranged this gathering and gave us this present. I can't help but feel that if I could see it more clearly, I would see G‑d and Koby and Yael's brother, Tani, somewhere above, lighting the candles.

Editor's note: Koby Mandell was just 13 on May 8th, 2001 when he and his friend Yosef Ishran cut school to go hiking. Their bodies were found the next day. The boys had been brutally stoned to death in a cave in the heart of the Judean desert.