Thursday, June 2, 2011


(I'm assuming a lot of you are familiar with this story, as Katie is HUGE in the blogging world, but if not, the links are there.)

Katie Granju filed a lawsuit yesterday against two people who gave her drug-addicted son a large amount of methadone, which caused him to overdose.  Then they refused to call for medical help, which resulted in Henry's death just over a year ago, at the age of 18.

Today is my brother's birthday.  He's 22.  He could be Henry.  Their stories, they are so much the same.  My brother, too, is an addict.  My brother has done horrible things to support his habit.  My brother had been a very bad person at times.  My brother has been really hard to like for a long time.  But he is my brother, and I love him, and if someone did something that hurt him or caused his death, I'd fight like hell, too, to see justice served. Because he is my brother, and I love him, and he's a good person when he's not high or chasing a high.

On Facebook, Katie said something about how she'd made the mistake of reading the comments responding to the news story about the lawsuit...and because I could never not go look after reading something like that, I made my way to the comment section, too.

I wish I hadn't.  Why are people so mean?

I'm not copying and pasting that bullshit because it shouldn't have been posted in the first place.  I just cannot believe the callousness and heartlessness and downright cruelty people are showing toward this woman, this mother.  And Henry?  To so many, Henry was a nobody.  Henry was scum, he was unimportant, he was worthless - not because they talked with him and determined his views and opinions to be unimportant or worthless, no; Henry was an addict, he was weak, he did bad things, so Henry was a nobody.

Now, I'm not generally one to quote from the Good Book, but there's a first time for everything:

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'" Matthew 25:41-45 
Even if you're not a Christian, you're a shithead if you don't abide by that passage there.  Henry was someone's (Katie's) child, grandchild, brother, nephew, cousin.  But for the grace of God, he could've been YOUR child, grandchild, brother, nephew, cousin.  He was a person, with thoughts and feelings, who loved and was loved.  These people who are being sued, they let Henry choke on his own vomit and convulse for hours in the middle of the floor of their house trailer, refusing to call an ambulance for him.  And people are attacking Katie for wanting those shitheads to be held accountable?

It's easy to want to blame the victim, to say Henry was nothing.  If he just fades into the woodwork with all the other druggies, everyone can pretend that Henry wasn't JUST LIKE their son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew.  If Henry was just some messed up junkie, there's no correlation between him and Todd, who's the Captain of the football team, or Jessica who's Head Cheerleader.  If Katie was a bad mom, if she just turned a blind eye and let her kid become and addict, then there's no way that'll ever happen to the child of the Patty the PTA President, because Patty really pays attention to her children.

Wake up!  The drug problem is in your back yard!  Hell, it's probably in your bathroom medicine cabinet.  But no...better to pretend this problem belongs to the margins of society and brush it away from our sight; shame the "good" victims into keeping quiet to protect themselves - there is so much guilt by association.

I've lived with this fear in the back of my mind and heart for the last few years - a fear that one day I'm going to get a tearful, hysterical phone call from my Momma or Daddy saying my brother's dead; that he's overdosed, or he was robbed and beaten horribly, or someone's thrown him from a car, or he was shanked in jail.  Drugs are really bad - they make people do really awful things - and when you've got a loved one living in that world, your imagination runs wild.  Brother's currently on an upswing of sobriety, and he's making good steps toward the future.  We're all cautiously hopeful...while we're telling ourselves we're fools for being so optimistic.  This is the hilly tightrope we walk, those of us who love an addict.

Those commenters said those horrible things about Katie and Henry for one of a few reasons:  maybe they've never known unconditional love; maybe they or someone they love have/has an addition problem about which they're in denial; or maybe they're just assholes - you've got to be a special kind of low to direct a bunch of hate and vitriol toward a grieving mother who's only trying to help get a couple drug dealers off the streets before someone else's kid dies.  Mostly I think they just can't possibly understand - they can't relate to Katie's grief, they can't relate to Henry's addiction - and what they can't understand scares them, and so they attack.
I hope Katie comes to realize this before any more of those word daggers find their mark.

Try to leave the world a better place than you found it, would you please, friends?  Show some love to your fellow humans and remember that we're all fighting our own private battles.

If you want to help Katie in her quest for Justice for Henry, go here to sign the Petition, or visit Justice for Henry for more information.  


  1. I really do feel you on this! Having two family memebers that are addicts, I understand completely.

  2. You are so smart and right, Natalie. Jesus walked among the dregs of society. Touched the untouchables. And directed us to do the same. I believe in the fundamental dignity of the human person, their inherent goodness despite past or even current choices. If we don't believe people are worth it, that they can change, then how are *they* ever going to believe it? Whatever it is that makes people harden their hearts and refuse to feel compassion, I pray they can let it go....

  3. I was very involved in an addiction recovery program for 5 years. The people I met and loved there were deep in and slightly out of addiction and wanted help. Sometimes they acted like it sometimes they didn't. During those times and in between all they needed was love.

    I couldn't be allowed to personally step in their lives - that would thwart my own recovery - but I know they were good people, just bad actions.

    I will really keep your brother in my heart. Oh and I don't read comments on ANY news story anymore. It's pitiful.

  4. Preach on sister, preach on! I can not believe some of the vile things people say and do under the protection of web anonymity. My thoughts and prayers are with Katie.

  5. Unbelievable. I mean, people who would consider themselves "better" than Henry would stoop to judging him and his family. People who sit on their high horse and point fingers would deem it fit to say how they might handle a similar situation. People are shitheads. Not all of them mind you but a lot of them. Katie and Henry deserve justice. Those who make mistakes in their lives deserve to be forgiven...because Lord knows, we've all made mistakes...and not one of us, not a SINGLE ONE OF US, is better than another.

    Great post, my feathers all ruffled at those haters...sorry to use your comment space for my soapbox rant.

  6. I love you all. You are the smartest, nicest group of women and I'm so lucky to know each of you, even if it's just through the web. Thanks for being so awesome!

  7. Thank you for writing this, you are so right. I'm having a little why-are-people-like-that cry and signing the petition now...


Please don't make me cry.


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