A Tragic Death

 Posted by on 2 June 2010 at 7:00 am  Parenting
Jun 022010

Last week, I posted the following message to OGrownups:

I’ve mentioned Katie Granju’s writing before, but I’ve been following her blog more closely than ever because a month ago, her teenage son Henry massively overdosed on drugs and was assaulted.  He has had a major drug problem for years, and even months of in-patient treatment didn’t help him.

He’s suffered severe brain injuries from the overdose and the assault, and he’ll be profoundly disabled for life, at best.  He’s doing very poorly now. See this post and this post.

It’s a sobering look at what can go terribly wrong in raising children, even with dedicated parents.  

From what I’ve seen — and I happen to have spent a great deal of time with recovering addicts in my late teenage years — most people end up with drug and alcohol addictions as a means of fostering evasion, escaping burdens, numbing feelings, etc.  That can be addressed with therapy, although that’s difficult, particularly when faced with the need to undo years of screwing up one’s life and screwing over other people due to the drugs and alcohol.

However, a few people have such a strong response to drugs and alcohol that they’re utterly consumed by it, and ordinary experimentation leads to a speedy downward spiral.  From the way Katie has described her son’s addiction, that seems to be the case with him.  And it’s horrifying.

Much to my dismay, Henry took a terrible turn for the worse a few days ago. He died on Monday.

I’ve been heartbroken for Katie and her family over Henry. I’m still heartbroken.

That seems amazing to me. I’ve never met Katie Granju, nor any of her family. She’s just a blogger that I’ve been reading for years. Still… I’ve read her because I liked her, plain and simple. Even when I disagreed with her, I’ve always been impressed with her thoughtful and determined approach to life, as well as with her dogged yet realistic devotion to her kids. She’s challenged my assumptions on more than a few occasions, she’s allowed me to peer into a life so different from my own, and I’m better for it.

I’ll be sending her some money, via the fund set up by her employer, simply as a gesture of appreciation and heartfelt sympathy. I wish I could do more.

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