A few weeks ago, when it looked as if my teenage son Henry was going to survive the brain injury he had sustained following a physical assault and a drug overdose – albeit with some serious disabilities as a result – I blogged here at Babble about how coming to terms with the reality of parenting a physically and mentally challenged child was like realizing that my plane to Italy had been re-routed to Mars.
On Monday evening, May 31, my beloved baby boy, Henry Louis Granju died as his father and I held him in our arms.
My child is gone.Gone from this earth, Gone from me. Gone from his father and stepparents, younger siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and a gaggle of adoring younger cousins. He will never meet the baby sister who will join our family in just a few weeks. I will never again hear his voice or cook him a meal. I will never again wrap his Christmas gifts or fuss at him to stop leaving his dirty socks all over the house. I will not see him graduate college or marry or cradle his own newborn child – my grandchild – in his arms.
What do you call a mother who has lost her child? If my husband had died, I would be a widow, but what am I now? I was the mother of two sons and two daughters – with another little girl on the way. That’s how I define myself. Now what am I? Without Henry, to whom I have been “mama” as long as I’ve been an adult myself – who am I? Who will I be in the future when the unholy, unbearable pain that now rips and tears at me every waking minute fades into a more chronic, dull, lifetime ache?
I know that I will be different – forever. Just…different. I can tell you already that losing my child is an experience so profoundly disorienting that I suddenly feel like a Martian among humans.
Yes, I have been re-routed to Mars. And there doesn’t appear to be quite enough air up here.
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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. We ask that you remember our boy and his struggles – as well
as all of your own community’s children being lost to the scourge of
addiction – 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