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Story of Teenage Drug Addiction — Henry's Story — to Air on TV

By John Cave Osborne |

Henry Louis Granju 1991-2010

Henry Louis Granju was checked into a Knoxville, TN hospital on April 27th, 2010 due to complications stemming from a drug overdose coupled with a physical assault. He was the oldest son of two loving parents. He was the stepson of two adoring stepparents. He was an idolized big brother to three children. He was the soon-to-be idolized big brother of yet another child — this one still in his mama’s womb. He was a beloved grandson. He was an incredible cousin. He was a friend to countless. He was a gifted musician. He was a wonderful writer. He was a bright, charming, sensitive, irreverent, kind, gentle, clever, imaginative and funny kid. He was also a drug addict.

And now, he’s dead.

Henry’s mother, Katie Allison Granju, has always been many things, herself. Author, columnist, speaker, social media expert, full-time professional, blogger, and of course, at the center of it all, mom. But this past spring she became something else entirely — the parental voice of teenage drug addiction.

Most wouldn’t have had the courage to do what Katie did. Most would have (understandably) buried their heads in the sand and dealt with the matter privately. But Katie chose to use her voice to detail virtually every last step of her family’s hellish journey in hopes that their story, Henry’s story, would serve as a grim example from which the rest of us could learn.

Simply put, more than anything else, Katie wants Henry’s short life to help save others. Thanks to her remarkable candor, superior writing, uncommon bravery and compelling voice, I’m think that it will.

Tonight, Katie will use her compelling voice on television. A local Knoxville TV station, WBIR, is running a special on Henry’s story at 7:00 Eastern. The timing is perfect. After all, today is the middle day of the 25th annual Red Ribbon Week, which is designed to encourage parents and teachers to discuss drugs, drug abuse and prevention with our youth.

Even if you’re not in Knoxville, you can still watch, as it will stream live here. And if you cannot watch at 7:00, the special will be archived on WBIR’s website so you can watch it at a more convenient time.

Below, I’ve embedded the trailer for the special.

Photo — Katie Allison Granju

visit John Cave Osborne’s personal blog.
visit John Cave Osborne’s book website.

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About John Cave Osborne


John Cave Osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as Babble, TLC, YahooShine, and the Huffington Post. John went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months after marrying a single mom, then quickly conceived triplets. Since then, they have added one more to the mix, a little boy they named Grand Finale. Read bio and latest posts → Read John's latest posts →

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58 thoughts on “Story of Teenage Drug Addiction — Henry's Story — to Air on TV

  1. andrea says:

    So, in other words, he came from a broken family, went through his parents divorce and subsequent remarriages, watched his mother have more children with a different father, while continuing to work at several different occupations. I doubt a whole lot of time was available for this kid, with the mom working so flat out and four other children.

    Is it really confusing as to why he was a drug addict? It’s sad that he paid with his life, but not surprising was in such pain. Any kid who had to go through that would suffer.

    Broken families hurt everyone.

    1. John Cave Osborne says:

      @andrea — wow, andrea. though i disagree wholeheartedly with what you said, and though i wish you had more compassion, i am thankful you read and took the time to comment.

  2. Leo's Mom says:

    Andrea – Just keep telling yourself that you can control the universe with your version of a perfect family. Much more comforting to blame a “broken family” than offer sympathy for a tragedy.

  3. PlumbLucky says:

    Remember: but for God’s grace, am I.
    BTW – the drug addict in my family? Is not from a broken family nor did she have a working Mom, nor did she have to share her parents with any siblings.

    1. John Cave Osborne says:

      @plumbLucky and @leo’s Mom: thank you both for your comment. @leo’s mom — thank you for that comment. i have a 9yo stepdaughter. blended families are tough, no doubt, but we’re fantastic with Pookie’s dad, as well as with his girlfriend. we cheer Pookie on together at her soccer games, have constructive back-and-forths when it comes to parenting issues, show interest and support in one another’s lives, etc…

      i’m not even sure what my point is except to say that if, heaven forbid, Pookie were to go on to become a drug addict and someone were to conclude that it was b/c (among other things) that she came from a broken home? i can’t even imagine how hurtful it would be to the adults who have given their all to parent her.

      many people have such binary minds. good or bad. black or white. this? oh, then it’s b/c of that. but things are seldom that simple. that’s why this story is such a compelling and important one.

  4. Gretchen Powers says:

    I just do not understand what seems like her constant need to be in the spotlight. To each their own, but I would just want to be alone with my grief and I find her actions so strange throughout this whole thing. I mean, with a new baby, other children and job, where does she have the time…it’s just seems so odd and not at all exemplary. Like a pathological need to do stuff…all. the. time. Yikes!

  5. Huh? says:

    @andrea- unlike the very restrained and well behaved author of this post, I am *not* glad that you took the time to read this post, judge this woman and her family and then blame them for a tragedy. I hope you read this before this comment gets pulled: EDIT This woman has had the courage to share the most unimaginable pain in an attempt to *help* and you are answering her with vile cruelty. Thanks for making the world a lesser place this morning. – Posted, just like your comment, from the safety of the internet and hoping that one day, we all realize that there are human beings on the other side.

  6. michelle says:

    @andrea, I’ll say what John was too nice to say. Unless you have statistics to back this up, you’re just a troll. Plenty of drug addicts come from intact families. Plenty of functional, successful children come from “broken” families. Addiction has been shown to have a genetic as well as environmental component. Quality of parenting matters, but do you have any basis for saying how well this boy was parented? No, you do not.

  7. Gretchen Powers says:

    And to JCO, Babble writer who says “Most wouldn’t have had the courage to do what Katie did. Most would have (understandably) buried their heads in the sand and dealt with the matter privately.” I think in many ways that would be a better idea. In my opinion there is much reflection that needs to take place here and less promotion…of…what? She is clearly overextended and I think this model of overextended mothers is not really so great for society, personally. What kind of person thinks they can have 5 kids, multiple “jobs” and do it all well, without anyone suffering? I mean, what’s it all for? I feel sorry for her loss, but I just don’t understand the cheerleading of all this.

    1. John Cave Osborne says:

      @gretchen — unlike andrea, there is merit to what you say — not just an arbitrary, groundless judgement. i used the parenthetical (understandably) b/c it’s UNDERSTANDABLE that doing what katie has chosen to do would not be everyone’s cup of tea. you are obviously a good example. i don’t necessarily agree with you, however, on your take. i look at it less as cheerleading and more as a legitimate attempt for katie to contribute to her son’s legacy. i can’t even imagine how i would feel in her shoes, but i can envision a scenario in which i’d want to do as much as possible to put a name, face, and personalized story to the tragedy in hopes that it could help save lives. IMO, that’s what Katie is doing. all that said, i respect your opinion and appreciate that you took the time to comment.

  8. Bri529 says:

    Wow Andrea…have you actually taken the time to read her blog? Doesn’t sound like it to me. Maybe you should try having a little compassion…people like you make me sad.

  9. Amy says:

    I think that if one parent sees Katie and Henry’s story and then questions themselves, it is a big help. There are too many parents “burying their heads in the sand” when it comes to their kids and addiction. Parents who have it all and think that nothing bad can happen to them are often the ones that let their kids’ “experimentation” go because it is too scarey, uncomfortable or too “not them” to address. By all means this should be aired as an educational tool to help parents see that it can happen to them. Also, the drug addict in my family came from a two-parent, family time having, 4 grandparent, chruch going home. Addicts are everywhere, there is no “type.” My heart goes out to Katie and her family. It really could happen to anybody!

  10. Bec says:

    Gretchen, I realize I might seem biased because I read Katie’s blog long before her son ended up in the hospital, but my impression has never been that this is about attention for Katie or glory for the choices she’s made. What Katie is hoping to do is use her family’s tragic loss to put a human face on a huge, growing problem. With Henry’s Fund, she plans to help a lot of other families get better resources to save their own loved ones.

    It’s really sad that Katie is making an effort to turn her worst nightmare into something, anything, positive for someone else and yet so many people see it as a great reason to spit on her. Anti-AP people, the anti-working mother brigade, those who would defend dealers, those who would refuse to believe that addiction has a biological component… the many strangers out there who bitterly troll her blog to blame her parenting, her divorce, anything to avoid the idea that Henry did this, not Katie. And you know what, I hope they never have to find out that they’re wrong; I hope they never lose a child to addiction and learn powerless they are.

  11. Manjari says:

    andrea, I will agree with Huh? and say I am not glad you took the time to post that useless, mean comment. Is it really that tempting to find fault with Henry’s parents?

    I can also understand why Katie Granju wants to share their story. If she can help others avoid a similar tragedy, or even if she just believes she can, that’s a way to make something positive come out of their family’s tragedy. Also, everyone grieves in different ways.

  12. Gretchen Powers says:

    Bec, it’s probably not “biased” but more informed than my impression. I will admit, I’m not a fan. I am very sad for her and her family and I guess this really is just a case of people being different in the way they handle these life challenges…

  13. goddess says:

    With the growing heroin use and addiction problem sweeping through neat little burbs and nomes broken and intact alike, I thinkshe’s remarkalbe for putting it out there. Yes- it can happen to good kids, bad kids, smart kids, not-so-bright kids, athletes (can we say Vicodin????), band members, popular kids, unpopular kids, kids with great family relationships and kids without. We all need humility to help our kids.

    1. John Cave Osborne says:

      @goddess — brilliantly put. i wholeheartedly agree.

  14. Linda says:

    I think Katie is making a very selfless choice in choosing the share Henry’s story in the hopes of helping other families. Rest in Peace, Henry. And Andrea & Gretchen, you really truly are complete asshats.

    1. John Cave Osborne says:

      @linda — we meet again! only this time we see eye to eye. thank you for reading, as well as for your voicing your opinion. always welcome regardless of whether or not you agree with what i’ve written.

  15. JEssica says:

    Life for children in blended families is hard. But I hardly think it was for this reason he became involved with drugs. Most of my friends came from blended families and most of them never used an illegal substance. This boy made a bad choice and it cost him his life. His mother’s choice to go public with it is her way to deal with her grief and I don’t applaud or condemn her decision. And I don’t think people whom lose their children bury their heads in the sand; they are grieving a great loss.

  16. Gretchen Powers says:

    I actually think she is and has been pretty selfish, to be honest, Linda. That’s my opinion. Go ahead and call me an “asshat” we have disagreed before. But hey, what’s one kid gone? She’s got four more, right? The “help” she can provide other families, I guess, is showing what a mess you create by having more children than you can handle and by working too much? I think people are being naive or being afraid to take responsibility for their roles as parents by acting like this could happen to anyone and it doesn’t matter what you do as a parent. It’s true, it could happen to anyone, anyone’s kid can get hit by a car, too, but if you let your kid play in the street, the chances are increased (to make an analogy)…it’s not like he was 25…he was still under her care!

  17. LogicalMama says:

    whoa, Gretchen….?! Judge much? Having an opinion is one thing, but justifying it b/c she has four more kids?! Holy crap!!!
    As for Katie having “too much on her plate…” I know plenty of people that thrive and need to be busy and scheduled. Do they have time for their kids? Many of them, yes; some of them, no. It depends on the people. Reading Katie’s blog from inception, you know she is a hands on mom that makes time for her kids. Henry, in particular, had lots of “mommy time” growing up. Everybody handles life situations differently and as a parent, you can not make your children react the way you want them to, people are who they are.

  18. bob says:

    I’m having an odd sense of deja vu, like I’ve read almost these same comments over and over again in the past. Freaky.

  19. Gretchen Powers says:

    I am not justifying it…that would be my guess as to what the breeders with soooo many kids that tend to not give each the care they need would think! And this woman still has the little tagline “She doesn’t know how she does it either” on her blog. Newsflash…she’s not “doing it”! This whole thing just makes me so mad. People just live their lives, do whatever they want, their kids suffer and we’re all supposed to applaud? I know people will jump on the bandwagon, call me judgmental, asshole and all that, and so I have to stop reading this thread.

  20. Linda says:

    Gretchen, you always find something nasty to say when this topic comes up. In fact, if I recall, you bring it up just to try and make your stupid points. You really lack something as a human being. That is MY opinion, along with the fact that you should STFU. Have a lovely day.

  21. jenny tries too hard says:

    Gah. Whether this kid came from an only child family or a family of 11 doesn’t matter much. Drug addicts have brains that are wired for addiction; all the mommy time in the world cannot change the brain of an addict into a brain that responds normally to substances like marijuana (yeah, I said it) alcohol, heroin or for that matter, caffeine. All that can be done is to ideally keep young people away from addictive substances (which, like enforcing sexual abstinence among teenagers, is impossible to do while still allowing a healthy distance between mom and child) and treat the addiction when it appears…which, Katie Granju did to the extent she legally could, sending Henry to a residential program until he turned 18. He was clean, receiving treatment and education (even with those pesky four other kids running around in Knoxville) until he was out of his parents’ care at age 18. That’s when he died, Gretchen, at 18, after exercising his right as an adult to reject the treatment his parents had chosen for him.

    And seriously, drug addiction is rising while average family-size is shrinking so this tripe about Henry’s mother having more kids than she could handle is just utter nonsense.

    But, as far as acting as though “it doesn’t matter what you do as a parent” that’s not at all what I’ve gotten from my (less than regular) reading of her blog. She posted a very thoughtful and self-critical story of the night Henry confessed—having shown no problems, raised no concern from anyone—that he had smoked marijuana for the first time. She vehemently encouraged everyone reading to NOT react the way she had if we were ever faced with the knowledge of a child having tried a drug. She lamented that she hadn’t enough talks about drugs and addiction with her son and made it clear that she hoped anyone reading would talk more about addiction with their children than she had with hers. If you do insist on judging KAG’s actions as a parent, stick to the actions that actually relate to her son’s addiction. People don’t try marijuana or alcohol for the first time because their mommy is “busy”; people try it because it’s a totally normal (if you’re not Mormon or Muslim or similar) part of growing up in America. Then, the people who have brains wired for addiction struggle and the ones who don’t, don’t. The only way to tell at present whose brain is wired that way is by the reaction to the drug.

  22. jenny tries too hard says:

    “She’s not handling it”

    REALLY? So if an adult child (remember, chose to leave his treatment facility as soon as it was his decision to make) makes poor decisions with his/her own life, or if a teenager makes a perfectly developmentally appropriate choice while unsupervised (and of course teenagers HAVE to be unsupervised to a certain extent to grow up normally) and his/her brain reacts a given way to it, then the fact that the parents hold everything else together doesn’t matter at all? She is handling it, honestly, imperfectly, with imperfect children, like the rest of us mortals…you know, the ones you like to call “cackling hens” and the like.

  23. JEssica says:

    @jenny ties to hard- I would disagree that trying marijuana is normal.

  24. Gretchen Powers says:

    I think it’s funny that people are calling him an “adult”…he’s (was) 18…so at 18 someone is just magically an adult? These things don’t happen overnight. So many things wrong with the way people think…and you know what? Kids don’t just need “mommy time” as little ones. They need present parents all the time. That doesn’t mean meddling or helicopter writing their college applications, but, you know, present, and maybe not worried about 3 jobs and having yet another baby, when there are already a bunch of kids…the very concept of “mommy time” is flip-flopped. Sorry folks, your “mommy time” is ALL the time, and your “me time” is the exception when you have kids.

  25. andrea says:

    Gretchen, I guess we’re two asshats cut from the same cloth ;) .

    I’m very sorry for Katie’s loss. To lose a child is just the worst kind of hell, and I wouldn not wish it on anyone. I just don’t get this obsession with the idea that “it could happen to anyone”. It’s like those people who leave their infants to cook in a hot car, because they “forgot. But it could happen to anyone, they cry. No, it can’t. It could not happen to me, because I do not drop my baby off at an institution and mentally check out for nine hours a day. It is quite literally impossible that I would not notice if one of my kids was missing. I’m their full time parent. And I’m pretty damn sure I would notice if they became drug users, much less addicts on the verge of fatal overdose. I’m in my children’s life. Full time.

    Failing to notice your child is an addict = not doing your job. You can not do your job if you are spending all your time at work and dividing what little time you have left over between four other children. There are only so many hours in the day.

  26. Gretchen Powers says:

    yep…pretty much!

  27. winni says:

    Comments @ Gretchen (and Andrea too): Your ignorance is showing.

  28. jenny tries too hard says:

    One problem andrea…KAG DID see that her son had a problem, and treated it. That’s why he didn’t die while he *was* actually under her care. She did do her job, but her son, for a number of complex reasons that addicts and their families struggle with, chose not to do his job in caring for himself.

    To use GP’s hit-by-a-car analogy— In this case, the mom saw that her kid, despite being told not to, chose to use drugs/play in the street. She took what she thought was the right action to stop him from doing that in the future. She and his other parents managed to keep him from getting hit by a car/assaulted by a criminal related to drug culture all the while that he was a child who depended on his family. Then, as a legal adult (though I certainly agree that people don’t magically become grown ups on their 18th birthday) Henry chose to willfully, rebelliously, unwisely (you know, like a young adult first exercising his brand-new rights to self-determination) remove himself from his family’s care and jaywalk/use drugs and associate with criminals related to the drug lifestyle. His family did what they could, as best they knew how (it’s seriously tricky to be present for a legal adult addict without enabling) to help him, but couldn’t force him to keep himself safe.

    Really, Andrea and GP are EXACTLY the sort of people who would benefit from the message that I’m taking away (and this may not be the intended message, I acknowledge) from Henry’s story. And yet, they just have to cling bitterly to the fearful and cowardly stereotype that drug addiction is something that happens to *other* people. Not people who are educated and accomplished and then give up careers to co-sleep and baby-wear (oh, wait…) and stay home with their babies and stick to one or two children unlike those “breeders”, (or whatever other dehumanizing term you want to use for people who choose a different lifestyle from your own). They want to hold on to the notion that if you. just. do. it. right. this sort of thing won’t happen to their sort of people. Even KAG herself was sort of guilty of that, I think, and her goal as near as I can tell, is like Betty Ford’s, to shake it into people’s heads that this can happen to anyone.

  29. Gretchen Powers says:

    I’m not going to sit here and judge this woman as an individual on detailed points of her parenting, but, I would highlight the fact that she has put herself in the public with all of it. Aside from that, I just disagree with the general tone of “it could happen to anyone”…yes, it “could”, just like you could get struck by lightening. But, there are definite ways to reduce the likelihood. I bet that teens who sit down and have dinner with their parents every night (except for maybe a once-weekly night out with friends or something) and who have decent curfews and are watched over and nurtured to excel at a hobby, sport, etc. and have their parents actually engaged and involved are far less likely to become drug addicts. And as far as the “breeders” thing goes, yeah, I have a real problem with people who think they are so wonderful, such gifts to humanity that they have the right to have so many freakin’ kids with the environment and the world resources the way they are today…and then to not even do the time caring for them. Like I said, this should be a cautionary tale, not anything exemplary!

  30. Gretchen Powers says:

    I also would add that I don’t think I am the perfect parent or a perfect person…the difference is that I try to know and abide by my limits in ways that won’t screw over people depending on me. I don’t try to write about how to raise children, etc….anyway, I hope she can find peace in her own way. All the public-ness seems like so much grasping to me though when it seems like what she could use is some quiet time.

  31. Gretchen Powers says:

    One more thing. I want to make clear that I don’t think this is her FAULT…I know in-depth discussions with subtleties that go against what everyone else is saying are hard for people to follow and comprehend, but I am not trying to villify her. I just think she needs to be quiet. And, so do I.

  32. Douglas Babb says:

    A truly beautiful program. Very sad.
    Pills kill three times more people than all other illegal drugs combined.

  33. Bin says:

    My son is a drug addict. He is from a christian 2 parent family. No divorces, no abuse, just a loving family. It is not my fault, it is not my husbands fault nor is it my son’s fault. He just happened to have a mental illness that predisposed him to drug addiction. I loved the story of Henry and I cannot imagine how much courage it took for his family to tell it. Drug addiction has a huge stigma attached that says it is somehow the parents fault. I have 2 children, one is a drug addict and one is not. We raised our kids the same and talked to them many times about drugs and alcohol. My son has been in 3 rehabs since the age of 17, he is 22. We have tried kicking him out of our home, stopping the flow of money to him, taking all his toys away, his car away, he always finds a way to get more drugs. Right now he seems to be drug free but I dont know about tommorrow. Please don’t judge people, it is not right. Instead pray for them.

  34. jenny tries too hard says:

    “I just think she needs to be quiet”

    Because THAT has a long, long history of solving problems.

    Look, I agree whole-heartedly that having regular family dinners, curfews (both of which KAG mentions that she and H’s dad had for him) and other things that are commonly called “good parenting” does reduce a child’s risk for developing antisocial and self-destructive habits like drug use. Most reasonable people do agree; there are long-term, well-respected studies showing that these things go hand-in-hand. You know how I know about these studies? People TALKED about them, talked about their experiences, wrote articles, etc. Would we have ever figured out half the things we know about other people and how we can learn from others’ experiences if people didn’t TALK about stuff? Do you really think that there is nothing to be learned from listening to the stories of addicts in general, noticing patterns in their stories and applying that knowledge? If that’s the case, why on earth do you talk about your experiences with co-sleeping, nonuse of pacifiers, babywearing, etc. at all, especially in a blog like this?

    Re: Breeders— People who “think they are so wonderful, such gifts to humanity…that they have a right…” Soooo…people who have more than one (or two, maybe three, you know, if they’re really superspecial) kid think they’re excessively wonderful, but people who talk about how a tragic mistake could never happen to them or to people like them and want to tell other people how to live and how many kids they have a “right” to have are great. Face it, there’s NEVER a justification for using hateful terms to describe people with whom you disagree, especially when the point of disagreement is how they use their reproductive rights.

  35. Gretchen Powers says:

    Sorry, I totally stand by my opinion. What I regret is giving in to my compulsive need to express it, again and again, to an unsatisfying end. The story makes me sad and angry on behalf of the boy, who I think was failed by people around him and people who should be embarrassed, not out in the public acting like they have a lesson to teach. This poor kid was just a player in someone else’s show probably his whole life, and now it continues even after he’s dead. But its a definite character weakness in me that I should get so involved in a conversation about something that has so little to do with me.

  36. jenny tries too hard says:

    Ah, a character weakness. Totally understandable, you’re only human; we all have character weaknesses.

    You know, some people believe that taking on a full plate, overestimating our abilities to do it all, is a character weakness…but surely that’s not something to sympathize with and learn from…people who have that character weakness must just suck…

  37. Gretchen Powers says:

    I never said she sucks…what I say is that I think her time would be better spent on some personal reflection and more focus on the four children she still has. Maybe write a book in a few years or something (I’m sure this will be in the works as part of the KAG media machine, though, anyway). The boy just died a few months ago for heavens sake! And the message you’re saying people could learn from now in this last post of yours is not the message being touted. The message being touted is “it could happen to anyone”…

  38. Gretchen Powers says:

    three children? sorry…I don’t even know…

  39. katie allison granju says:

    Gretchen: I “still have” (your phrasing) four wonderful, beloved children. Since you seem concerned, I want to assure you that as the mother of a recently deceased child, I spend plenty of time in “personal reflection.” However, I am not really sure what qualifies as “personal reflection” by your standards. Does crying myself to sleep every night count? Do the hours spent reading and re-reading my son’s baby book qualify? Does the time I spend discussing our family’s unbearable loss with my husband, family members, friend and the children I “still have,” meet your criteria for “personal reflection?” Clearly, my decision to tell my son’s story publicly in an effort to try to prevent other moms from crying themselves to sleep every night doesn’t meet your standards for appropriate ways to grieve the traumatic loss of my son, but luckily for you, you aren’t the one doing the grieving. I hope that you never are the one doing the grieving, because it sucks. – Namaste – Katie, Henry’s mama

  40. Ashley says:

    hey Katie,my name is Ashley. i am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. i will pray for you and your family every day. i know you all miss him a lot. even though i don’t know you all, i just want to say don’t listen to what other people are saying, they are just being rude. i am a teenager myself, so i hate to see things like this happen to other teens. i just wanted to say that you all are pretty brave to air the show on the news,even thought it would have been hard to talk about. i also want to congratulate you on your new baby.

  41. Gretchen Powers says:

    Dear Katie,
    I am sorry for your loss and I sort of understand where you’re coming from. I want you to know that my comments were not meant to judge you or attack you as an individual, but since you are making a public example of a situation, it is that situation or that “lesson” that I am commenting on. What I am making is a judgment on the idea that something can happen to anyone and the idea of being so relentlessly public after a tragedy. These are two things that are common in our contemporary culture that I think, overall, are detrimental. So, what I am saying is not really about YOU. Please, no personal attack meant. I wish you peace, as well.

  42. katie allison granju says:

    Gretchen – Thank you for your response. Please know that being “relentlessly public” about my son’s terrible suffering and tragic death is very painful for me and our family. However, we made a decision – as a family (including those other kids I “still have”) – that we will beat this drum as loudly as we can so that we can maybe prevent this from happening to other families. The hundreds and hundreds of emails I get every month from other parents and from addicts reassure me that our family’s decision to tell Henry’s story publicly was the right one. I respect that you would make a different choice should you ever lose a child to drugs. I pray that you never are faced with that choice. But I do ask that you compassionately respect OUR choice without being mean in your comments. I almost never respond to hurtful or negative comments (and I get a lot), but for some reason I felt compelled to reach out to you and let you know that I am a real person, a real mother who really did just lose her baby boy in a terrible, terrible way. And when you suggest that the fact that he had four other siblings (whom he loved dearly and who loved him) contributed to his death, or the fact that I am a busy, working mom contributed to his death, etc, etc, it’s very painful. You are welcome to hold those opinions, and of course you are welcome to share them here or anywhere else. But again, I just wanted to let you know that I am not a cardboard figure or a character in a movie. I am a real person. Thank you for listening – Katie

  43. Gretchen Powers says:

    Points taken, I do apologize for adding to your pain.

  44. Gretchen Powers says:

    I have been thinking about KAG, this story, my posts, etc. ALOT over the past few days and wondering, do I need to feel badly, where this all falls in the cosmos, etc. I have to say, in some ways I wish I never posted, BUT my opinions have NOT changed. But, I supposed its not something the woman herself needed to hear. I would like to highlight that I would NEVER post comments like this on her own blog(s). I would seek to create some distance to discuss the matter in a more abstract way. I still don’t think any issues of prevention or cause were really addressed, but that doesn’t seem to matter, so…as they say “let it be…”

  45. Fuchiafinn says:

    So GP… you’re saying you’re willing to say whatever you like about the suffering of a family as long as you don’t get called on it by the directly affected parties? When you said that you got her point and apologized for adding to this mother’s pain, that was basic decency and compassion. To ‘think it over’ and then come back and emphasize that you learned nothing and regret nothing and stand by the same statements that caused pain in the first place is audacious to say the least, not mention hypocritical, (you’re allowed to inform the world of your soul searching because of a blog thread but she is supposed to keep quiet about the loss of a child).

    You of course, have the right to say your piece just as I have the right to horrified by the fact that it only took you a few days to abandon your apology. I choose to have faith that what you have said is not representative of your actual ability to be compassionate but you give me the thinnest of threads to work with.

  46. Gretchen Powers says:

    No, the point is, if this is something we’re supposed to be learning from and discussing, really, truly, than that’s what needs to be happening…and it is not, it’s just a really, really public memorial, which is fine, I guess. I contend that this is not something I can learn from, the way in which it is presented. I have honestly tried to see what it is I can take away to protect my own child. I was sincerely interested in this for that reason, and thought and thought and thought about it, and the message I keep hearing is basically that it can happen to anyone and there is nothing you can do. It’s not really helpful (to me…I can understand that it might be helpful to some…for whatever reason they may find). I stand by my apology to KAG, and my regret that she felt the need to defend herself for whatever reason (another part of the problem of being so relentlessly public?) But the question remains is, what do we learn and how can we use the information to prevent more pain? I think it is, again, key to note that I am not reaching out to this woman and criticizing her on her own blog or on a personal level, but in what I thought was a “neutral” forum for parents to discuss “third party” issues…like, I wouldn’t post comments on the memorial website or video website, and I think that’s really a critical difference. Anyway, that’s enough said by me, I’ll have to look to other sources for info on prevention of such tragedies, since that’s what I am actually interested in.

  47. jenny tries too hard says:

    GP, you really, really need to see someone about your lack of self-awareness.

  48. Linda, the original one says:

    OMG, you complete and utter dumbass! OF COURSE, you shouldn’t have posted any of that! Are you clinically insane? There’s something very, very wrong with you deep down to the core. You’re just completely VILE in every way.

  49. Gretchen Powers says:

    OK…well, I found this website in my own search…so others may find this useful, too…again, sorry…

  50. jenny tries too hard says:

    GP, here’s a thought…a notion exists in our society that one or several “groups” of teenagers can pretty much always experiment with drugs and come out without addictions and be just fine. Most parents think these groups are ones that their kids belong to— kids who were parented a certain way, come from intact families, go to the right schools, have educated, liberal parents, live in the upper middle class, whatever— and that experimentation can be shrugged off, because, you know, their kids don’t look like addicts and surely it’s just normal experimentation. What I took from this is that we need to eradicate the notion that most kids can safely experiment with drugs and instead look at all drug use among teens as being thisclose to ruinous addiction

  51. Gretchen Powers says:

    That’s actually a helpful and interesting observation, jenny…thank you.

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