Six months later: A return to Charlottesville after the deadly protests

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Six months have passed since a day of deadly violence in Charlottesville.

August 12, two groups with vastly different views clashed on the Charlottesville downtown mall. The unrest turned deadly when a car plowed into a group of protestors, killing Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, 32.

"I see shadows of Heather everywhere I go," Susan Bro says of her daughter.

Bro periodically comes by the street that now bears her daughter's name. It's where Heather Heyer's life was cut short six months ago, but with that tragedy instilled a new purpose in Bro.

"I promised Heather I would make good of this, and that I'm trying to do," she said.

Bro spends her time signing "thank you" notes for people she's never met, donors whose money funds the Heather Heyer Foundation. Bro's collected more than $100,000 in scholarship money for area students.

In the six months since her only daughter's death, Bro has been on a whirlwind schedule of interviews and appearances.

"I was actually getting my stuff to walk out the door, and I looked at my husband and said 'Heather what have you done?' This is just so bizarre, but it's the new normal," Bro said.

Bro says her daughter -- her youngest of two -- would not have wanted this attention. She says the national attention "would embarrass the heck outta Heather," but she would understand what her mom is trying to do and that this is part of Bro's healing process.

"I cry less often," Bro said. "I cry for shorter amounts of time, and every so often a big wave of grief will hit me."

Bro says she is healing, just like the rest of this city. Walking on Heather Heyer Way she is stopped by one person after another. People who want a hug or handshake, just to be close to one another.

Bro doesn't want her daughter to be deified or martyred, but she hopes what happened to Heyer can bring people together to heal as a nation.

"That was one aspect of her life," Bro said of her daughter's activism on the day she died. "It's not the total sum of who she was. Nor do people need to have the total sum of who she was. I know who my daughter was. I love her dearly."