The Harris family may have lost their son, Josh, to a combat mission in Afghanistan in 2008. But a discovery left behind by the former member of the elite Navy SEAL Team Six gives his parents a sense that he's still there.
When six Navy SEALs came to the Harris's Lexington, N.C., front door in 2008, Josh's father, Sam, already knew what they were going to say, WTKR reported.
Josh had drowned in 2008 on a combat mission with SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan.
“Sam started crumbling to the ground, and I started screaming for them to come and catch him,” Evelyn told the station.
Months after, the Harris family was able to connect once again with their son by discovering more than 150 paintings he crafted and left behind in a loft in the family barn, according to WTKR.
Evelyn told the news station that a family friend mentioned the surprise treasure trove of artwork, assuming the family knew as well. The discovery allowed Josh's family to hold on to their son for a little longer. And once the word got out, the station reported it's allowed others to hold on to him, too.
Though Josh's parents weren't sure how his work would be received, critics have raved and even pointed out interpretations the family hadn't previously considered, WTKR reported.
Until November 14th, Fort Pierce's National Navu UDT-SEA: Museum will feature more than 50 of Joshua's pieces in an exhibit titled "Art of a Hero," TCPalm reported.
His mother told the publication about the joy she gets from maintaining the artwork.
"Over the last three years, I've slowly framed the rest of his work," she told TCPalm. "It's so abstract that sometimes I look up and say, 'Josh, do I have this right side up or upside down?' I laugh, but I'm so happy that we're keeping the memory of our son alive through his art."
The Harris family aren't the only ones keeping the memory of a fallen veteran alive. Twenty-four-year-old 2nd lieutenant Andrew Ferrara braves the mountains of Afghanistan's Kunar province to experience the last steps of his older brother Matthew, who was killed in an ambush after saying goodbye to the local elders in the village of Aranas.
"I think in terms of peace with Matt's death, I'll never forget and I have a different level of understanding now," Andrew said. "I do think I have gotten out what I thought I wanted. That's just the product of spending six months of my life in the same shoes my brother spent six months of his life in."