DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — As thousands of students head back to school, one teenager won’t have the opportunity to do so: Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old who was killed at STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting in May.
Every day, Castillo’s parents spend hours at his memorial at Seven Stones in Douglas County. It’s not just a place of healing for the Castillos, but a warm place for dozens of other families too.
All over Colorado are breathtaking places where the water and the wind meet as one.
“See the birds and hear the birds chirping, on cue,” said Becky Holm with Seven Stones.
At Seven Stones, one will find art, music and gorgeous views of the mountains.
It’s a place for laughter and beauty. Ultimately, Seven Stones’ purpose is to help people heal.
“I’ve not ever experienced a cemetery like this before,” said Brenda Fox, whose husband is buried at Seven Stones.
Seven Stones is a cemetery where headstones are boulders and people write messages to loved ones with chalk.
“He said it was the closest place to heaven on Earth. Those were his words,” Fox said of her husband.
It’s a place for heroes like Kendrick Castillo too.
John Castillo, Kendrick’s dad, said, “He’s our hero, everybody’s hero.”
There are children who lost their lives and public servants as well.
“Of course, Zack Parrish is another here in our community that lost his life tragically… And he’s just a few feet away over here,” John Castillo said.
“You can tell someone about this place — you can use 100 descriptive words to tell someone about this place — and you don’t get it until you actually walk through the gardens and see and feel and hear the wind blowing through the trees,” Holm said.
Even though the place is surrounded by death, clues will show you it’s full of life as well.
“Peaceful, calm, relaxing,” Fox said.
Oftentimes, you’ll see families and couples roaming — people who don’t know anyone visit.
“I have people who come for lunch sometimes and just spend time down in the shade,” Holm said. “Maybe some people might think it would be weird, but I’ve gotten so used to it now that it just seems normal to me.”