Loved Ones Of Charlottesville Victim Heather Heyer Cope With Their Loss Together
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NOEL KING, HOST:
Yesterday on MORNING EDITION, we heard Susan Bro whose daughter was killed a year ago while protesting the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va. Today, Bro continues her story on StoryCorps. Her daughter was Heather Heyer. She grew up in a small town outside of Charlottesville. Heyer was 32 years old and working at a law firm in the area when she was killed by a white nationalist. A year later, Bro sat down with her daughter's supervisor Alfred Wilson. He remembered the first time he met Heather Heyer at her job interview.
ALFRED WILSON: Heather was very honest with me and told me, I don't type. I've never worked in an office. All I've done all my life was bartend or waitress.
SUSAN BRO: So you took a chance.
WILSON: Yeah. She could communicate with anyone. And you know, I'm a black male. And I might walk out to meet a client, and Heather would notice that sometimes they didn't shake my hand. And that would just infuriate her. And I'm like, where does she get this from? - because she grew up in this little small place that's not that diverse.
BRO: She comes from a long line of stubborn people - stubborn and opinionated and not afraid to say so. That day of the rally, what time did I call you from the hospital?
WILSON: About 2 o'clock. I remember my wife told me - oh, my God, Alfred, do you see what happened on the TV? And she didn't know that I was on the phone talking to you. I remember thinking, she's going to tell me that Heather's hurt. But you didn't tell me that. And then everything was so quiet, like somebody had shut the volume control off on the world.
BRO: For me, losing my daughter was like, you have a lot of tears one time. Then you'll go numb for a while. And I'm glad you're finally able to let some of yours out 'cause you worried me there for a while.
WILSON: Yeah. In May, I was going to have two kids graduating at the same time. And all I could think was I wanted her to be there.
WILSON: But one of the plus sides was when you showed up to the graduation party.
BRO: Your family was very welcoming. But I kept thinking, Heather's the one that should be here.
BRO: For me, grief is like standing in the shallows of the ocean, knee-deep in the water. Every so often, a wave will wash over. And so I allow myself to cry and be really sad while that wave is there, but I know that it will go away. And that's what gets me through.
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KING: That was Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer who was killed at the "Unite the Right" rally last year in Charlottesville, Va. She was talking to Alfred Wilson, who was Heyer's supervisor at the law firm where she worked. That conversation will be archived in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
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