A Life-Ending Deal

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Yesterday I wrote about having a plan for your children in case you die unexpectedly.

Today, unfortunately, I’m writing again about death.

My writing colleague and cyber-space friend Katie Allison Granju lost her son, Henry Louis Granju, yesterday. Eighteen years old, Henry died while he was recovering from a drug overdose and drug-related assault.

Katie, who is loved by many Mothering readers for her book, Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child, is eight months pregnant with her fifth child. She’s been blogging every day, sometimes more than once a day, from the hospital waiting room, updating readers on Henry’s condition and posting pictures of her handsome boy.

On May 3rd of this year she came out about her son’s drug addiction in a post on the New York Times’s Motherlode blog.

In a recent blog post Katie urged parents to talk to our kids about drugs. And then to talk to them some more.

My father talked to me a lot about drugs. My two oldest brothers both had drug problems but my father and mother could not agree on how to deal with it. Because my mother thought it best to ignore the problem, they never confronted my brothers, set clear boundaries, or urged them to get help.

My father always felt he had made a mistake by ignoring a problem that did not go away. So with my third brother and me my father was much more open. Without being preachy, he told us about the dangers of drugs and about how drugs can mess up your brain and mess up your life.

He also shared his sadness with us about how sorry he felt that he never stepped in to protect my oldest brother from addiction.

It worked. I decided not to damage my brain with drugs. Even though a lot of my friends in high school and college were experimenting with LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, and other illegal drugs, I stayed far away from them.

On the update about Henry on the Motherlode blog, one reader commented: “…I will honor his memory by changing my attitude about ‘experimental’ teenage drug use. I used to think it was no big deal. After reading Katie’s blog, I realize that for some children and families, it is a very big deal. A life-ending deal.”

I feel so devastated for Katie, and for her children who have lost their big brother.

My older kids are only 6, 9, and 10 but we have already had many drug talks. Tonight at dinner we’ll talk about Katie’s son and about how drugs, harmful and sometimes deadly, can be a life-ending deal.

What about you? Do you talk to your children about the harmful effects of illegal drugs?


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