Forgive, Never Forget

For Heather Cameron, the road back was a long, hard journey.

This month, Heather reunited with the Combs family at their house in Park Hill, mere blocks from where she'd lived with her parents. Although Devon and Heather had kept in touch, Devon's parents, Keith and Becky, hadn't seen Heather in over five years.

After dinner, sipping tea and eating cookies in the kitchen, they reminisced about when Heather and Devon were little girls: the carpool; birthday parties at Big Fun; Heather's pet ducks, Donald and Daisy. They talked about the days after the Camerons died, including a time soon after Debbie's funeral when Becky let the girls ditch school and took them on a "fun day," swimming and bowling. For the first year after her parents' death, Heather would spend every Wednesday night at the Combs house, which became a refuge.

Becky brought out an old photo album, with shots of the girls in kindergarten, at arts and crafts, on the playground. There were shots of Debbie Cameron, too, watching her five-year-old daughter at the Graland Rodeo. Kids always loved the rodeo's Buckin' Bronco, a pommel horse attached to long ropes hanging from the gymnasium roof. An eager little cowboy or cowgirl would clamber aboard, and then someone would jerk the rope back and forth, trying to send the rider tumbling onto the wrestling mats below. Heather's father had volunteered for the job, Keith remembered, and he was stunned to see Duncan Cameron -- not exactly the cowboy type -- arrive that day dressed in full Western wear: hat, boots, snap-button shirt, vest, even chaps. Everyone laughed at the memory.

 
Bryce Boyer
 
Debbie, Heather and Duncan Cameron on a family trip 
to San Francisco in the early '90s.
Debbie, Heather and Duncan Cameron on a family trip to San Francisco in the early '90s.

They were amazed that they could laugh, how despite everything that had happened in Heather's life, they could pick up right where they'd left off. How nothing and everything can change. How lost you sometimes have to get to be found.

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