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.