Song Lyric of the Day:
One of us is gonna be here / And one of us is gonna be running / Off alone into a great unknown
As almost every Knoxville-area blogger (as well as many beyond our city limits) knows by now, one of our own suffered the worst loss on Monday night. Katie Allison Granju, Mamapundit blogger extraordinaire, lost her beautiful 18-year-old son, Henry, 37 days after he was first admitted to the hospital suffering from a massive drug overdose and severe, brutal beating.
I don’t know Katie personally, only through her writing. Having read her blogs (including her one at Babble) for the last two or three years, I feel like I have gotten to know her, though, which is why Henry’s death has been so hard for me to process. It’s why it’s taken me three days to be able to write about it without crying (and as it is, I’m failing at that).
For a while now I’ve enjoyed Katie’s stories about what it’s like to be a busy mom to four — with a fifth on the way — as well as her career trajectory as a social media/PR guru. Which is why it was so heartbreaking to read not only that Henry had been admitted to the hospital but the story behind his four-year history of drug abuse, which Katie finally decided to talk openly about. I — and I suspect many of her other readers — was shocked to read about Henry and the family’s struggles with his addiction. Through it all, though, so many of us in the online community were praying for Henry’s recovery as soon as Katie shared what had happened. And up until last Friday night, when she revealed that Henry had taken a turn for the worse and was in extremely critical condition, I, and everyone else praying for the family, had hope that the small improvements Henry had been making were in fact going to lead to his recovery, however long that might take. By the time she posted the simple and heartbreaking “H is struggling tonight” on Sunday night, I started to get a bad feeling about what the outcome might be. I began checking her site more often than I already had been (multiple times a day) and burst into tears upon reading the simple, devastating update on Monday night. My husband, who knew how upset I was about the story already, did his best to console me. I felt — and still feel — like I lost a loved one, all through the power of Katie’s writing.
I also feel a tremendous empathy for her since, like me, she’s pregnant. I can’t even begin to imagine she must be feeling right now, dealing with the worst grief a parent can experience while … I literally have no words for it. And every time I think of the baby girl she’s carrying and how she won’t get to know her big brother, as well as Henry’s three other siblings, I start crying all over again.
If there’s anything positive that will come out of Henry’s tragic and unnecessary death, it’s his legacy. His family — especially his mother — have shown a strength and grace throughout this whole ordeal that can only be described as inspiring. I hope Katie and her entire family know how loved they are and that they are constantly in my, and countless others’, thoughts. They will be for years to come.
*Special shoutout to Shane Rhyne, Katie’s friend and colleague, for his efforts to get the word out about the foundation, donations for funeral arrangements, and other blogs sharing this story. Everyone should be blessed to have a friend who offers this kind of support when it’s most needed.
UPDATE: The Granju family has started what they hope will be a permanent, endowed fund (non-profit status) to help other families who need help affording drug and alcohol treatment for their children. And, per Katie’s blog, “Now Knoxville music legend Carl Snow has set up a wonderful way for people to donate to Henry’s Fund by offering $1 downloads of the GORGEOUS song he wrote about our boy. Just visit Carl’s site and all the details are there.”
Donations can also be made directly to:
The Henry Louis Granju Memorial Scholarship Fund
(Via administrator James Anderson)
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
2000 Meridian Blvd., Suite 290
Franklin, TN 37067