Very few of my friends had children in their 20’s.
Most of us waited and only forged into parenting well after our own childhoods.
But while I was still partying in college, one of my friends had her first
child, a boy who she named Henry. When he was born, I held him and I bought
him a Wimmer Ferguson Stim Mobile. I was intrigued and admired Katie who went
on to lead a parenting example for me a good 10 years before my first child was
born. Even though I moved away from my college town, I kept track of Katie and
her family through mutual friends and her parenting articles and books.
Yesterday Katie lost her son, Henry, to a drug overdose
coupled with a physical assault that left him with a very serious brain injury.
The world feels silent today as I hold my breath and wait for Katie to once
again lead an example for the rest of us because I do not know what I would do
if this was my tragedy. And I feel like I am intruding by writing about her
loss. It is so personal and it does not belong to me; it is not my story to
tell. But it is a lesson in compassion; Henry’s struggle has changed me and
that story is mine. As a parent, I now have a very different perspective about
I admit I have scoffed and eye rolled at the arguments over drug
addiction. “Those people”. Those people who could quit if they wanted to. I hate to bring television into this conversation,
but I have been watching The Learning Channel show, “Addicted”, which follows
Kristina Wandzilak as a family interventionist helping families cope with drug
and alcohol addiction. Kristina is someone I would want in my life if I had
this personal issue. I wish Kristina could have helped Henry. But if any good
can come of his tragedy, then it will start with a conversation. One I will
have with my children and one I can share with others.
I don’t understand why some people can experiment with drugs and suddenly stop one day unaffected and other people become addicts. I don’t know what grace prevented this story from reaching me until now, but addiction is something very real and its consequences are devastating. I’m not here to espouse any answers or have some great opinion that will change the world. I am only proposing that we have a conversation and honor Henry by remembering the result if we do not talk about it. Please begin a dialog with your children about drugs and addiction in memory of Henry.
A fund to help defray some of the family’s expenses is being
expedited by Ackerman PR. If you would like to help, please write a check made out to
Katie Allison Granju and mail it to:
c/o Ackermann PR
1111 Northshore Drive,
Knoxville, TN 37919
You can read Katie's account of her experience at her blog:
you can also donate to the following at the family's request:
Our family is starting what we hope will become a permanent, endowed fund that will provide scholarships for families who cannot afford to pay for needed drug and alcohol treatment programs for their children. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you remember our boy and his struggles by considering a donation to:
The Henry Louis Granju Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Administrator: James Anderson
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
2000 Meridian Blvd.
Franklin, TN 37067