In “Beautiful Scars,” Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander tell the story of their recovery journey after Kilee was severely burned when the Highlander home was destroyed by fire in 2014. The journey wasn’t only Kilee and Lori’s—the whole family, especially Kilee’s brother, Cameron—had to adjust to changes, new stresses and the range of emotions that come with surviving and moving on from a tragedy.
Here’s an excerpt of Cameron’s chapter of “Beautiful Scars,” in his own words:
Kilee’s story is positive and shows that a lot of bad can happen, but if you do what it takes to overcome it, it’ll be OK in the end. My story is to always be there for someone no matter what, because you don’t know what could happen.
Time means everything, and everything happens in a split second.
I want to make sure Kilee is OK all of the time, wherever she is. I just want her to know that if something ever happens, I’ll be there. I wasn’t there for her that day, but I will be every day from now on.
The most important thing to me is that she is alive and everything is getting back to normal—just our everyday life and not stressing about the house or Sis healing; everything is fine. Back to the way it was . . . normal.
I thought she’d be worried about her scars, but somehow she’s not. That amazes me. I’d probably be the biggest baby in the world. I don’t know how, but she has been really, really strong during everything. Her mindset was that if she didn’t do what she needed to, it would take longer to become fully recovered.
I’ve learned to be more caring now. I mess around a lot, but when someone I love leaves, I tell them I love them, because that morning I didn’t tell Kilee that.
She has taught me to never give up and always have hope.