A Troubling Question

Henry Louis Granju was checked into a Knoxville hospital on April 27th, 2010 due to complications stemming from a brutal assault coupled with a drug overdose. He was the eighteen-year-old son of my close friend Katie Allison Granju and Chris Granju, who graduated from my high school a year before me (in Lovie’s class). He was the step son of two supportive and loving step parents. He was an idolized big brother to three born children, as well as to the one unborn child in Katie’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 bright, charming, sensitive, irreverent, kind, gentle, and funny. He was also addicted to drugs.

And now, he’s dead.

Katie and I were emailing back and forth one morning, but our flurry was interrupted by a meeting I had. After the meeting, I texted her to see if she had time to finish our exchange via a brief phone call. She responded with “I’m in the ER. Please pray for my son. He’s been beaten up and is on life support.”

So quite literally, from moment one, I’ve read each and every single word of her horrific account as it’s unfolded and have given each and every imaginable element of this tragedy great thought. I’ve stood in awe of Katie’s candor and bravery and watched with great pride as she used her enormous platform to share her story, in hopes of preventing other families from living the hellish nightmare which befell hers.

And I’ve watched with great frustration an investigation that seems impotent at best, a charade at worst. I’ve also watched with great anger how some of the media as well as some of my city’s high-ranking civic employees have portrayed her. As a nuisance. A pest. As a unjustified squeaky wheel.

But all I’ve ever seen is a mom who loves her son.

Katie has posed a question for her readers today on her blog. A troubling question. I’d like very much for you to click on the link below and read that question. And then ask yourself what you would do if you were Katie. Would you be as brave as she’s been? Would you open yourself up to great criticism, to controversy? Would you continue to mother your child in death? Because that’s what she’s doing.

And it fills my eyes with tears. For countless reasons.

I have a feeling this local story will one day become a national one.

Katie, our family continues to hold you and yours extremely close in both thought and prayer. Don’t give up, girl. I’m on your side. And I’ll do anything humanly possible to help you and your family.

http://mamapundit.com/2010/08/something-i-find-difficult-to-understand/

Related Posts with Thumbnails
About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    A-freaking-men. A-double-freaking-men.

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    A-freaking-men. A-double-freaking-men.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Continued prayers for Katie and her family.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Continued prayers for Katie and her family.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    I haven’t any words other than a parent’s anger and sympathy. It is easy to push aside the pain and sorrow of someone we don’t know.That is how we walk past the homeless who live out in the open but invisible to us all.

    It is a shameful commentary.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      it’s also how we fail to fully absorb the true horror of terrorism in the holy land.

      you’re a good man, jack.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    I haven’t any words other than a parent’s anger and sympathy. It is easy to push aside the pain and sorrow of someone we don’t know.That is how we walk past the homeless who live out in the open but invisible to us all.

    It is a shameful commentary.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      it’s also how we fail to fully absorb the true horror of terrorism in the holy land.

      you’re a good man, jack.

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    http://37paddington.blogspot.com/2010/08/still-fighting-for-henry.html

    joined the chorus today. praying for katie as she mothers her son in death. what an incredible thing.

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    http://37paddington.blogspot.com/2010/08/still-fighting-for-henry.html

    joined the chorus today. praying for katie as she mothers her son in death. what an incredible thing.

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    um, don’t much like that icon with teeth bared. i get him every time!

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    um, don’t much like that icon with teeth bared. i get him every time!

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    but in the scheme of things, ah, the icon means nothing. sorry to be blowing up your comments box.

  • http://37paddington.blogspot.com Angella Lister

    but in the scheme of things, ah, the icon means nothing. sorry to be blowing up your comments box.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    Yikes. What a nightmare. I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine what that is like.

    But…

    Let me start by saying I haven’t read her entire blog or every single little bit of the story. But what I do know — what I’ve seen first-hand — is how frustrating it can be for a parent to deal with the death of a child that occurred under suspicious circumstances.

    Perhaps the police department has been negligent. I don’t know. But more often than not, it has nothing to do with incompetence or a lack of desire to bring people to justice. It has to do with evidence (or a lack thereof). It has to do with what the police can prove. What will stick in the courtroom. And if that requirement can’t be met, there is nothing that can be done.

    The police and DA’s office would have to prove those adults supplied him the drugs. They’d have to prove there was malice on their part. They have to corroborate evidence and witness testimony regarding who beat that poor boy up. But maybe they can’t tie the drugs directly to those people. Perhaps they want to, but the evidence just isn’t there. And maybe the witnesses won’t cooperate out of fear. All I’m saying is there’s a myriad of reasons the case can’t move forward, and often it has nothing to do with law enforcement’s desire to see the bad guys punished.

    It breaks my heart when a parent comes to me and asks me to investigate something about their kid’s death they believe the police have overlooked. And unfortunately they do become squeaky wheels and succumb to tunnel vision, becoming so obsessed about the details surrounding the death that’s all they can think about.

    I’m not saying that’s the case here, I’d have to spend hours reading about it. But it does happen.

    Either way, my thoughts go out to that family and my heart breaks for them.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      aaron,

      thanks for reading. for those of you who don’t know aaron, he’s another of the best ones out there. straight up.

      that’s why i qualified my post w/ mentioning that i’ve read everything from day one and that i’ve thought about the tragedy from every possible angle. and i agree that it would take you hours to catch up, but simply put? more should have been done according to the letter of the law. period.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    Yikes. What a nightmare. I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine what that is like.

    But…

    Let me start by saying I haven’t read her entire blog or every single little bit of the story. But what I do know — what I’ve seen first-hand — is how frustrating it can be for a parent to deal with the death of a child that occurred under suspicious circumstances.

    Perhaps the police department has been negligent. I don’t know. But more often than not, it has nothing to do with incompetence or a lack of desire to bring people to justice. It has to do with evidence (or a lack thereof). It has to do with what the police can prove. What will stick in the courtroom. And if that requirement can’t be met, there is nothing that can be done.

    The police and DA’s office would have to prove those adults supplied him the drugs. They’d have to prove there was malice on their part. They have to corroborate evidence and witness testimony regarding who beat that poor boy up. But maybe they can’t tie the drugs directly to those people. Perhaps they want to, but the evidence just isn’t there. And maybe the witnesses won’t cooperate out of fear. All I’m saying is there’s a myriad of reasons the case can’t move forward, and often it has nothing to do with law enforcement’s desire to see the bad guys punished.

    It breaks my heart when a parent comes to me and asks me to investigate something about their kid’s death they believe the police have overlooked. And unfortunately they do become squeaky wheels and succumb to tunnel vision, becoming so obsessed about the details surrounding the death that’s all they can think about.

    I’m not saying that’s the case here, I’d have to spend hours reading about it. But it does happen.

    Either way, my thoughts go out to that family and my heart breaks for them.

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      aaron,

      thanks for reading. for those of you who don’t know aaron, he’s another of the best ones out there. straight up.

      that’s why i qualified my post w/ mentioning that i’ve read everything from day one and that i’ve thought about the tragedy from every possible angle. and i agree that it would take you hours to catch up, but simply put? more should have been done according to the letter of the law. period.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    There’s nothing like starting your day with a huge lump in your throat and tears in your eyes.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    There’s nothing like starting your day with a huge lump in your throat and tears in your eyes.

  • Elsbeth

    Like so many, I’ve been following this, powerfully moved by such articulate grief and such frank introspection, and pondering implications for my young children. I realize that the demonization of drug victims has the unintended consequence of signalling to the truly evil that drug victims can sometimes be killed with impunity. In Canada, the story of Robert Picton and especially the recent story of a Picton survivor who was ignored–so that dozens more were killed– seems horribly relevant to the story of Henry. Too often rule of law isn’t upheld for drug addicts. The other realization that I’ve had: children make some of the most important decisions of their whole life when they are just fourteen or fifteen, but we don’t prepare them adequately for that degree of responsibility and or with a full understanding of the possible consequences. I hope you will help us keep up the process of collective, supportive reflection.

  • Elsbeth

    Like so many, I’ve been following this, powerfully moved by such articulate grief and such frank introspection, and pondering implications for my young children. I realize that the demonization of drug victims has the unintended consequence of signalling to the truly evil that drug victims can sometimes be killed with impunity. In Canada, the story of Robert Picton and especially the recent story of a Picton survivor who was ignored–so that dozens more were killed– seems horribly relevant to the story of Henry. Too often rule of law isn’t upheld for drug addicts. The other realization that I’ve had: children make some of the most important decisions of their whole life when they are just fourteen or fifteen, but we don’t prepare them adequately for that degree of responsibility and or with a full understanding of the possible consequences. I hope you will help us keep up the process of collective, supportive reflection.

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    I can’t answer any of these question because I can’t empathize. My kids are alive and healthy, and just thinking about either of them dying and my reaction is not something I want to explore. But, I commend Katie for taking action. I commend her for being able to even go on after something like that.

  • http://www.almightydad.com Keith Wilcox

    I can’t answer any of these question because I can’t empathize. My kids are alive and healthy, and just thinking about either of them dying and my reaction is not something I want to explore. But, I commend Katie for taking action. I commend her for being able to even go on after something like that.

  • PJ Mullen

    It may be easy for me to say because I’m not knee deep in the situation, but I would absolutely raise cain if this were me. Then again I’m the same guy that took our local police to task a number of times because they wouldn’t finger print my glass doors where someone invaded my home and stole my TV.

    I hope this does become a national story because law enforcement, despite having a difficult job, must be held accountable for their failures. Her post was pretty clear detailing the missteps that were made in this case and, if nothing else, it will hopefully prevent another family from finding themselves in a similar, unfortunate predicament.

    I can’t imagine the strength and resolve it must take to make it through the loss of a child and I offer prayers and continued strength to Katie and her family.

  • PJ Mullen

    It may be easy for me to say because I’m not knee deep in the situation, but I would absolutely raise cain if this were me. Then again I’m the same guy that took our local police to task a number of times because they wouldn’t finger print my glass doors where someone invaded my home and stole my TV.

    I hope this does become a national story because law enforcement, despite having a difficult job, must be held accountable for their failures. Her post was pretty clear detailing the missteps that were made in this case and, if nothing else, it will hopefully prevent another family from finding themselves in a similar, unfortunate predicament.

    I can’t imagine the strength and resolve it must take to make it through the loss of a child and I offer prayers and continued strength to Katie and her family.