I have been putting off writing this post because the topic is sad, and it is hard to know what to say and it strikes fear into my heart, truth be told.
Katie Granju is a blogger I have come to appreciate through her writings on Babble and at her personal blog. She is a very honest, open writer and blogger and has just experienced a loss that is probably the worst a parent can ever experience, the loss of her oldest son, Henry.
Henry was 18 when he died on Memorial Day. He died as the result of injuries he sustained from a brutal beating during a drug deal gone wrong, and then from the drug overdose he took after the beating. The ordeal is outlined pretty clearly on both of her blogs.
I have cried many times while following her updates after he was hospitalized, and I have been reading her updates regarding the investigation into the beating and drug deal, as well as what she has to say as she revisits Henry’s struggle with addiction and how she and the family dealt with it.
It is horrible to lose a child, of that I have no doubt. It is probably terrible no matter what the circumstances, but I can see how she is struggling with the idea that somehow she failed him, that this might have ended differently if they had only found that one thing that worked for him to get him into recovery. He had been through a variety of addiction programs, including two extended stays at residential facilities, and yet within weeks of his return from the last stay, he was using again. It is safe to say that Henry was not at the point where he was ready to let go and let God.
I have never smoked pot, or taken any illegal, controlled substances. It just scared the crap out of me to consider doing it as a child/young adult, and as an adult I came to recognize that my own chemistry was not one that mixed well with certain kinds of drugs. I also come from a family with a history of addiction. Katie’s story is one that hits close to home, and makes me stop and wonder how things will go for Cooper.
I don’t question at all how Katie and her husband and ex-husband handled the situation with Henry. It is not for any of us to judge. When you are dealing with addiction, you are up against a tornado and quicksand covered in fog and slime. It is a life out of control, and only at the point a person says “I am helpless against this” can they begin to heal. Sometimes it doesn’t happen soon enough. I cannot imagine the pain that Katie and her family feel.
This is where all of my fears about parenting crystalize. Now that Cooper is in my life, the idea of losing him, in any way, or of him being hurt by his own hand or by others, is just nauseating, potentially paralyzing. Can you even protect them enough, and yet allow them the freedom to be their own person, learn about life and grow? How do you educate them about the dangers of drugs – and I will say this out loud here – POT IS DANGEROUS. Specifically if you are an addict. The problem is that people often try pot before they ever know if that is an issue for them. It is the way they found out they are an addictive personality. Sure there are some people for whom it is nothing. They try it, they move on. But for many, it is a dangerous and slippery slope.
Dealing with the question of drug use, experimentation, alcohol use, etc. is something that we, his parents will learn to navigate I guess, as he grows. Bob has been down this path with mixed results with his older children. Ultimately though, no matter what, you have very little control and that is where the anxiety lives.
I pray for Katie and her family, hoping that by writing his story she finds some solace, and brings more awareness to the issue of drug addiction and treatment.