American Legion BANNER MAY17 V4

Mandy Snell Harris

A grieving heart
By Mandy Snell Harris

I am writing this with a heavy heart. After last month's article about grief, I find myself heeding my own words... Why? Why him? Why now? 


My nephew, Harris Browning Houston passed away on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, unexpectedly. He is the oldest son to my sister Jan Snell Houston and George Houston, and brother to Morgan. Even though he was 26 years old, I will always remember him as that little, talkative, red haired boy who threw his arms up every time he saw me. I went on vacation with them almost every year. His first trip to the beach was a VERY memorable one. It was so windy that day that we had a hard time getting the blankets/towels to stay in place. Jan gave me the video camera (back then they were pretty big & you propped them on you shoulder). So Jan told George to put up the umbrella and told me to start filming. Well, the umbrella turned inside out and George was chasing it, then the lens on the camera fogged up and I couldn't see to film... much. While Jan was cussing at both of us, I looked over and Harris was covering his little face because sand was blowing on him. I couldn't quit laughing. I do believe the next day went a lot smoother. 

I have so many other stories, but none like his "Ma" (that's what he called her).  She loved her boys like any mother does, but I always thought it was so sweet that she made sure everyone knew JUST HOW MUCH she loved them. Both of the boys were 'pistols'. 

I'm sure that everyone will agree with me that no parent should ever have to bury their own child. I have seen it too many times, and now twice, it has hit home. When their child goes, a piece of the parents go with them. I watched as my brother Gladston and sister in law Beth buried their infant son, Houston James Snell... and now I'm watching the same heartwrenching emotions as Jan and George have to do the same thing. I've ALWAYS known that we are part of a tremendous family, but WOW!! They are unbelievable!!, cousins doing the unthinkable and friends coming out of the woodwork. Jan, George and Morgan are so blessed to have you all, and our family thanks you for being there. Harris had a huge heart and loved his family and friends unconditionally. He will be missed terribly. The comfort that I find in this, is knowing he was met at the gates by Papa (our Daddy) and Pop & Susan (George's parents) and all others that he loved. 

Please keep Jan and her family in your prayers...And as always, hug yourself AND everyone you love! Much love to all.

Mandy Snell is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about growing up in Snellville and its history. Have any Growing up in Snellville stories to share? Comment below!

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