“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Madness Ascending

 

The impossible of yesterday becomes the achieved of today, because someone has dared.

 u Inscription under Katherine Davis’s picture in the 1923 University of Alabama yearbook.

Katherine Davis, c. 1923

Katherine Davis, c. 1923

In the last post to Spittin’ Grits, I said that Katie Granju’s June 22 piece “Parenting, Denial, and Acceptance” on babble.com touched a nerve. I spent many years mired in guilt and recriminations as a result of believing I must have done, or failed to do, something that drove my daughter to drugs and alcohol addiction and the hideous lifestyle that comes with it. It took a lot of work, professional help, and research to understand how this is at the least highly unlikely.

Granju’s fears include thinking her family and her children were special and protected from those kinds of things happening to them, which somehow disallowed her stepping in to save her son Henry.

Maybe thinking that you and your family are special is just perception, maybe not. Either way, it’s probably healthier than thinking you and they are nothing special.

I always thought mine was special.

Thomas A_edited-1

Take my great-grandfather Thomas A. Davis for example: He owned a business in Montgomery, a concrete company, I think. He was a poet and an astronomer, as was his father, John S. Davis. Problem was, his love for the subjects was unrequited. No one much liked his stuff; he was so heady and intellectual that his business suffered. Oh, well. He was eccentric, if not special.

Johnetta Davis-1908_edited-1 He and Johnetta had four children – one son and three daughters, Aileen (my grandmother), Laura, and Katherine. Marshall raised his family in Louisiana, and I don’t know too much about them. Laura committed suicide very young, and my grandmother suffered greatly from her loss.

The Davis women, 1908, left to right: Laura, Aileen, Johnetta (mother), Mary Marshall (grandmother); front: Katherine The Davis women 1908: (l-r) Laura, Aileen (my grandmother), Johnetta (mother), Mary Marshall Davis (grandmother), and (front) Katherine.

Then there was Katherine, an amazing woman, someone special en route to great things. She was the first from the Davis family to attend college, graduating from The University of Alabama in 1923 – Phi Beta Kappa, Women’s Student Body President, Senior Poet, top beauty, member of many honoraries; at commencement she was presented the Hypatia Loving Cup, UA’s highest honor.

Special, Interrupted

Sometime around 1925, schizophrenia claimed this woman. She spent nearly 30 years in Bryce Hospital for the Mentally Insane, until thorazine was invented, which allowed her to move to my grandmother’s home until her death in the 1970s. Maybe it looks like my grandmother was nothing special, but she loved her sister enough to care for her in her house until her sister died.

Nothing in Katherine’s upbringing, her accomplishments, her potential could stop her head on collision with insanity. Even recognizing symptoms could not have stopped it. She and my grandmother managed her illness with the medication.

Nothing can stop the onset of juvenile diabetes, if you have it; nothing can stop heart disease, if you have it; nothing can stop asthma, if you have it. Without personal management of the diseases, they will take you down. Every disease, whatever it may be, from juvenile diabetes to Parkinsons, begins with a disruption of normal cell activity. Other factors, like genetics and environmental issues, can play a role in severity.

Drug addiction is no different. We know that now. Diseases are disorders of the body, NOT disorders of the Will or morality. The brain is the body.

Addiction’s Home

Alcohol and drug addiction lives in the brain and is chronic. Brain imaging has located it and mapped it. Take your first and second fingers of one hand and make a V in the middle of the forehead; place the index finger of the other hand above the right or left ear. You are locating the mesolimbic dopamine system, the Pleasure Pathway of the brain. The area not working up to speed will drive the person to use drugs and alcohol to compensate, to feel better. And if left untreated, it will kill that person and other innocent bystanders.

A June 23 piece in Wired.com magazine explains how the Pleasure Pathway works in alcoholism and how alcoholism in turn damages the brain. Drug and alcohol addiction is caused by brain malfunction and then turns around and MAKES the brain malfunction, creating a vicious cycle that must be stopped by successful treatment or the addict will die from his/her addictions. As the Wired piece notes, neuroscience has documented that successful treatment can re-train the prefrontal cortex to begin healing and re-functioning.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to understand the hallucinations that Katherine Davis, my great aunt, must have had; equally hard is feeling an addict’s sensations. Here’s how my psychiatrist described it:

If you have ever had a toothache that involved a nerve, you know what real pain sensations feel like. It affects your ear, your whole face, everything. I even tried to hit my head on a wall once to stop that pain. Someone suffering from a chronic and serious back disorder and pain chase relief.

Stopping at Nothing Special

An addict’s sensations are just as intense and as demanding. He/she will run to incredible extremes and suffer irrational consequences to stop the sensations.

When I looked at what must have been my daughter’s symptoms, I did not recognize what I saw. Yet I spent years feeling insufferable guilt. Like Katie Granju has expressed it, like what Tom and Johnetta Davis must have felt, like parents of so many addicts or a mentally disabled child have felt. The guilt, recriminations, regrets can eat you up and leave you wasted.

Those who suffer from chronic diseases have to learn to manage them. Katie Granju’s Granju’s son Henry did not live long enough to learn this the hard way; my daughter has had every opportunity imaginable to know and act on this requirement, and she has not accepted it. Nothing I can do or not do affects this reality. And it’s as real as it gets.

What we can do is change our ways of thinking about addiction and our judgments of addicts and their upbringing. We can see addiction as another public health problem that affects millions more than just the addict.

Syllogistic Power

Remember “syllogism” from school? “All men are mortal; Socrates was a man. Therefore, Socrates was mortal,” which was proved beyond a doubt, because he died.

Here’s a syllogism that may help change thinking: All diseases are disorders of the physical body; addiction is a disorder of the physical body. Therefore, addiction is a disease.

The more we know, the quicker we can recognize symptoms and try to intervene. But recognizing symptoms in time to intervene is NO guarantee that the addict will agree to manage the disease rationally and responsibly.

Learning about the sources of addiction and mental illness will show that we often hold parents too responsible for children’s outcomes. Just think: If we had the power to cause addiction or mental illness, then we would also have the power to undo it. We don’t have either power.

 

Happy Birthday to a New Life

Happy Birthday to Georgia Allison Hickman, brand new daughter of Katie Allison Granju. May she return joy to Katie’s heart.

When I looked at Georgia’s picture in the incubator, it took me back to the night my granddaughter Joanna Leigh was born. Also weighing 5-1/2 pounds, she also had to spend a little while in her incubator. Like Georgia, she looked so tiny to me, and guess what, she is petite – a pipsqueak, I call her.

Petite was new to me. I come from big people and had big babies. But Petite can be fun when you’re buying clothes for a little girl.

Heavy on my mind that night was whether my daughter’s incredible love for this new baby could trump her awful drug addictions. It didn’t; it couldn’t.

The second day, 5 a.m. 5/20/08

 

It was only two months ago that Katie lost her son Henry to drugs and violence. She has bravely recorded her grief and life since that terrible loss on her popular blog http://mamapundit. Like thousands and thousands of other readers, I have followed her touching accounts. One in particular, dated June 22 on Babble.com, has compelled me to address the issues of guilt, recriminations, hindsight, and how a child’s addictions can smash assumptions about your own family and about raising children. In that post, Katie writes:

Even as all the signs were present that Henry's "experimentation" with drugs was morphing into something far more serious and worrisome, I simply couldn't fully grasp that something as terrible and unpleasant as drug addiction could happen to MY child...to OUR family.

I intend to address this in the following days.

 

Parenting Grandparents: The Runaway Grandma

Last weekend I ran away from home.

As I was running away in the car – a really good place to let your mind wander – I remembered how my brother as an elementary school kid ran away a lot. One of my junior high friends ran away to my house regularly. She lived around the corner, maybe a total of six houses away. I guess the streets were much safer in those days, but safe or no, I wasn’t the runaway type. I’d much rather walk or be driven to a friend’s house to spend the night.

Our granddaughter Joanna Leigh runs away. If I fuss at her in a serious way or tell her absolutely “NO” about something, she says, “I’m leaving.”

She prisses away, gets on her pink trike, and goes maybe a fourth of the way up the driveway. She comes back and says, “I went to the store. I’m going back to the store.”

I say, “Well, drive safely and come back soon.”

But even a grandma can run away.

A bit different from the strict definition of running away, I knew in advance where I wanted to go, so I called and made reservations: the Marriott Shoals.

_DSC3210 We had been there before and I knew it would be the medicine I needed to restore and rejuvenate. It sits peacefully on the Tennessee River in the Muscle Shoals/Florence area in northwest Alabama.

Except when the children are all having fun in the pool area, it’s quiet. Someone would wait on me and I wouldn’t have to cook or do dishes. I could read and sleep like a mummy.

Wilson Dam, Tennessee River, from the Marriott Shoals

The Tennessee River and Wilson Dam, from the 5th floor balcony of the Marriott Shoals

Sure enough, I got stuff stashed in the room and headed for the whirlpool. Right before I nearly went to sleep and drowned in the warm water, I knew this runaway would do the trick. It did.

hottub-3

Joanna Leigh in the hot tub on a trip to the Marriott Shoals

I am not shy about saying that raising a three-year-old, on a day-to-day basis, when it’s not a visit but for keeps, is exhausting at my age. Even though I have help from my husband and from Martha, whom I depend on a great deal, it’s shared help, not running away.

The moral of this vignette is that you’ve got to know when it’s really time to run away.

_DSC3030

So, back to the Marriott Shoals. It’s a very kid-friendly place. In addition to the fun pool area, with slides, bridges, corners to swim around, fountains to run through, you can take the kids down the walkway toward the river to River Heritage Water Park and playground.

Shoals-3

 

View to the River Heritage Water Park, from the Marriott Shoals balcony

Walkway to the River Heritage Water Park at the Marriott Shoals

The grounds are well kept, so there’s lots of running and playing. Watching the kids having so much fun, I knew I’d bring Joanna Leigh back again on my next runaway.

The Marriott Shoals also has another feature, which in my opinion is merely an aside but is critical to tons of people who visit from everywhere to take advantage of it: GOLF. Yawn, I’d rather read a book, but. . . . It’s part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

The 11-site Trail winds its way through the state from Huntsville, to Birmingham, to Auburn, to Dothan, to Mobile, almost like following Alabama’s river systems. The RTJ hotels also showcase Alabama artists on their walls, rather than the usual generic junk hung over beds and desks in a room.

image

Alabama White Camellia, Nall

Artists include Nall, whose haunting and lovely pieces hung in my room, folk artists Charlie Lucas and Jimmie Lee Sudduth, sculptor Bruce Larsen, photographer Chip Cooper, and many others. (For a look at Chip Cooper's photographs of Charlie Lucas's works, see the October 29, 2009, post here.

The last night I was there I had curled up around my Quesadilla, beer, and Hummingbird cake for dessert on the hotel patio. Suddenly it seemed like the bell had rung on the golf course; it was dark, after all. Golfers descended onto the patio talking about their game, their game the next day, mother balls (?????) that were well marked, mulligans, and handicaps.

All I could think was how happy I was not to be exerting myself on some 8,000-foot golf course named the “Fighting Joe.” No way.

The next day I had to leave. I made it home in time to go to a meeting and pick up Joanna Leigh. That night she came down with fever. She complained about a sore throat. Oooops, strep, I’ll wager.

Sure enough. It’s one of those times you think you’re being picked on, that you’re being paid back for running away.

Was it worth it anyway? Oh, yehhh. When it’s time to run away, JUST DO IT.

Drive safely and maybe come back soon.

 

No Self Control

Sometimes you just can’t help yourself.

[2010 05 25_birthdayparty_0014_edited-1[4].jpg]My cousin Emory graciously took photos at Joanna Leigh’s 3rd birthday party, and no amount of trying can keep me from posting some of them.

 

One Down Two To Go

Two more to go, with Uncle John's help

 

 

 

The best gift of all was that her first cousin, my other granddaughter, who lives some distance away, was able to come, so I have pictures of them together. Joanna Leigh keeps looking at her photo and saying, “Isn’t she cute?”

Cousins

Isn’t she! Aren't they!

Joanna Leigh spotted had spotted a pink “car” in a newspaper flyer. I cut it out and told her to show Papa. She took it to him and said, “Papa, I want a pick car.”

It did not matter that she didn’t get it for her birthday, because she got something from Uncle John even better – and she can even take it to bed with her.

Hola!

A pink Dora umbrella. She said,

“This is awesome.”

 

 

 

I think she’s a mini-Valley Girl.

 

Swing Set_edited-1 If it ain't got that swing

 

 

 

 

It don't mean a thingJCH and AVH 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Addiction’s Parallel Universe: Wednesday, April 21, Part III

Note: Part I (dated April 29) and Part II (dated May 11) are archived under Drug Addiction.

I could finally sneak back home with Joanna Leigh. My stress level was still overheating. I could not fathom that our drug addicted daughter was out of jail after only a month and with an $115,000 bond. What would we do now?

No, it’s no way to live. If someone can tell me how not to live this insane way, I’m listening, I thought.

I was determined to keep our granddaughter away from her, but how? I had tried to allow them something of a relationship, but when we learned Mary was cooking meth, selling it, and taking it, we knew the moment had come for a complete separation. Joanna Leigh was not going to be a part of her mother’s drug universe. I also knew the baby’s grief would come, and Mary’s release would simply prolong it.

The Days

Sure enough, she showed up Friday at Joanna Leigh’s pre-school. Even though I parked in a different place, went in a different door, and came out a different door, Mary must have seen me and was waiting outside when I brought Joanna Leigh out of the building.

I was beyond angry.

Joanna Leigh ran to her arms. She was so happy to see her. I just stood there. I said to Mary, “Ok, now what?”

She had no answer.

On Saturday, Martha, who often cares for Joanna Leigh, took her to the park and other places so that I could get together my part of the bridal tea I was co-hosting the next day, Sunday afternoon. I felt as though I was sitting on dynamite.

Meanwhile, we learned that Mary had shown up at her cousin’s house, despite knowing that the cousin’s son had warned his mother NOT to allow Mary to stay there ever again. Not hearing from her Friday night or all day and evening Saturday lulled me into complacency. I got all my la-la tea stuff – silver trays, silver serving pieces, marinated asparagus, avocado, linen napkins, and more -- loaded up or ready to be loaded up for Sunday’s tea.

Sunday, April 18, was my husband’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. I don’t know what he was thinking when he agreed to get married in April; it’s the middle of wild turkey season in Alabama. It takes a special breed to be a turkey hunter, and he’s one. First, you have to get up before sunrise to get into position. It’s also snake season, so that’s what’s out there with you. Then you have to sit there almost without breathing and be patient, patient, patient. I’m not patient, especially not with turkey hunters and their whining about being tired. Inconveniently, they spend the rest of the morning sleeping because they had to get up at 4 a.m.

Now, I ask you. . . .

On Warn

Then came the warning. Right in the middle of turkey season, at 7 a.m., my husband walks in the door. I said, “Well, you all must have gotten a turkey.”

“Nah, we just saw some.”

I kept loading the car. Then got appropriate clothes on. Then several other things. Then the bombshell. Gee, another happy anniversary.

“I have to tell you this. I got a call at 5 a.m. Mary overdosed and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, to the ICU. They don’t think it’s life threatening right now, but they had to restrain her because she was crazy and violent. She’s out cold, and they’re going to keep her out until she gets the stuff out of her system. She didn’t respond to me at all.”

Getting out of jail or treatment after being off drugs for a while is the most likely time for overdoses. And many addicts who overdose and are with other addicts often die because the others won’t call for help. But Mary was at her cousin’s, who called for an ambulance.

I was determined to go ahead with my part in the bridal tea, but I sneaked out about midway to run to the hospital. I looked through the small window of the door to the ICU. It was shocking to see her arms tied down and her head lolled back on the pillows as if she were in a coma. I started to cry, even though I would have to return to the tea. I didn’t want to go up to the bed.

I asked the nurse what happened, and she looked at me as if to say, “Are you kidding? What do you think happened?”

Instead she said, “It was a typical way that meth addicts come in – fighting and flailing around. Hasn’t she been living her life this way for some time?”

“Yes,” I said. I wonder how she could tell. “Do you know when the doctor, the psychiatrist, will come through?”

“Do you want to commit her?” asked the nurse.

“God, yes”, I answered. “No one needs it any worse. She’s likely brain damaged from her years of drug use. But I know how hard it is these days to have anyone committed.”

“Oh, it’s not hard if you work with the doctor,” she replied. “She’ll probably be transported down the hall to North Harbor [the psych and addiction ward at the hospital] when the doctor releases her,” she added.

All I knew at that point was that she would be gurnied down the hall through the locked doors into North Harbor. At least it was a reprieve. And now a window opened a crack to let in the possibility of commitment.

But how would we keep her off the streets? I secretly wondered if we should even try. It has been an insane way to live.

(To be continued in Part IV.)

 

Poison Control for Grandparents

My new best friends are Jane and Amy at Alabama Poison Control.

About a week ago, on a Saturday, I was here with my granddaughter Joanna Leigh and needed to, well, brush my teeth. As grandparents know, there’s no privacy with a curious toddler in the house.

Despite the sound of water running, I heard a thumping, dragging sound, not altogether unfamiliar, as Joanna Leigh drags lots of stuff around, like her rocker, the chairs to her art table in her room, the chairs to her play table in the den. I decided to at least finish brushing my teeth. I rinsed, turned off the water, and headed to the top of the stairs. I could see her downstairs in the den.

clip_image002

“What are you doing?” I called.

She kind of peeked around the door facing. Sheepishly. She had something.

“What is that?”

It was a bottle.

The bottle had reddish color stuff in it.

It’s the Tylenol! Children’s Tylenol. The measuring cap. There’s some in it!

“NO, you can’t do that!” I screamed.

I ran to her and grabbed it. There was also a glob on the chair. “No!”

She kind of handed it to me. “My medicine,” she said. “I don’t feel good.”

“No,” I screamed again. “You can’t get your medicine. Mama Jo or Papa have to get your medicine.”

I was panicked. I looked at the top. It had some in it. I look at the blob on the chair. I just didn’t know. I called my husband. He said I probably needed to get her to the emergency room. All I could see was an IV hooked up to her while her stomach was being pumped. Suddenly, I thought, No, that’s aspirin. Tylenol goes to your liver. It can shut your liver down. Oh, God!

I grabbed the phonebook. Poison control, poison control, where is it? There.

I dialed.

“Poison control,” said the voice. “This is Jane.”

clip_image002

“My granddaughter. She has gotten into her Tylenol. I don’t know how much she had.”

“Not good,” said the Jane.

She began to walk me through steps to determine how much she could have taken. I’m not sure I recognized them as steps, but I certainly realize now that they were indeed meaningful questions to her.

It seemed to take hours, when in fact it couldn’t have been long. I told her that all I did was brush my teeth. I heard her dragging the kitchen chair. I rinsed and ran downstairs. It wasn’t long.

Finally, the verdict: “I don’t think she could have taken enough to harm her. Here’s what we’ll do. You give her lots of liquids. Watch for abdominal pains, vomiting, and the like. I’ll call you back in an hour.”

Jane or Amy at the Alabama Poison Control continued to call during the day and evening, the next day, I think the day after, and maybe once more to close the case. In one of the later conversations I said, “And by the way, I forgot to tell you it was a child-proof cap on it.”

“Nope,” said Jane. “It’s not child proof. Don’t ever count on that. We’ve had 18-month-olds open those ‘resistent’ caps.”

“That’s false advertising,” I said.

“Well, that’s what we have.”

“Ok, it looks like I’ll have to get some kind of lock boxes. Our bottom cabinets are child-proofed, but who’d think she could drag a wrought iron kitchen chair over the rug, which is crumpled up, by the way, all the way across the room, get onto the counter, get the medicine out, get the child-proof cap off, get down, go into the den and start pouring into the measuring cap?”

“You got it,” said Jane.

Joanna Leigh was fine. But, guess what, once again I learned the lessons. Not to brush your teeth? No.

1. Call Poison Control immediately.

2. Don’t count on the pharmaceutical company – YET AGAIN – to do what it should.

3. Don’t assume even a pipsqueak like my granddaughter can’t do it.

4. Size up your child’s/grandchild’s personality and then deal with it.

5. Put the Poison Control number on an index card and tape it up around the house.

6. And, finally: Don’t, don’t NOT freak out. Freak out all you want, because. . .

I later heard Joanna Leigh putting Teddy into Time Out, yet again, poor creature. He is in such pathetic condition; his head lolls around on this weak neck. For more about Teddy in Time Out, see this post.

She said to Teddy, “Teddy, no getting the medicine. You’re going to Time Out.”

His head lolled around. She put him down on the floor.

Teddy in time out

I am very worried about poor Teddy. He has certain conditions, like terminal sticky fur, at the least. Believe me, I’ll freak out when Teddy goes to the Great Stuffed Animal upper room.

clip_image002[1]

 

The Parallel Universe of Drug Addiction: A Hall of Mirrors in the NoFun House

The parallel universe of drug addiction is a Hall of Glass and Mirrors, where you don’t know where you are; just when you think you can maneuver your way out, you hit another glass wall. You turn, put your hand out, and then see yourself holding out your hand toward a mirror.

Like this, except in the parallel universe, it’s no fun.

Although I don’t know all the pertinent facts, it appears to me that the Granju and Allison families have hit the Drug Addiction Universe wall labeled “criminal justice.”

Henry Granju was admitted to an emergency room April 27, several days after a drug overdose and brutal assault that left him bleeding from the ears and with a severe brain injury. On May 1, Henry’s mother, Katie Allison Granju wrote a post on Babble.com that revealed her “secret,” that she is the mother of an addicted child. She then posted to her blog mamapundit.com regularly regarding Henry’s condition. A huge number of people were reading and responding, mostly with kindness and sympathy, to her and her family whose ordeal went on for over a month. Henry’s condition began to worsen toward the end of May. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Henry Granju died of his drug overdose and/or injuries.

No Victim

In a May 26 post to mamapundit, Katie Granju shared that she had finally gotten in touch with the Knox Co. Sheriff’s Office investigator in charge of Henry’s case. The encounter turned out unfortunate at the least:

He basically told me that unless and until he can get an interview with H in which H tells “his side of the story,” then “there is no victim.” . . . I tried to explain to him that H has suffered a major brain injury and isn’t currently capable of giving an interview that would be of any real use whatsoever, and he suggested that this scenario means the investigation will likely stall out completely. He also told me he hasn’t spoken with several of the major players in what happened that day.

Witnesses, Attackers

A June 2 post to the Knoxnews.com (after Henry’s death) reported that family members had “given authorities the names of witnesses to the assault, as well as the names of Granju's alleged attackers:

According to the Sheriff's Office, as well as a family member's account, Henry Granju was beaten and robbed by three assailants during an attempted drug buy in the parking lot of the Bi-Lo market, 2230 W. Governor John Sevier Highway, on April 26. Family members say a tire iron was used in the assault.

Autopsy

A June 4 story on volunteertv.com reported that the KCSO publically released preliminary autopsy results, but without first notifying the families, another truly unfortunate move. No, a thoughtless move. No, a STUPID move. The preliminary cause of death is listed as anoxic ecnephalopathy, according to the story.

Simple Assault

A June 5 knoxnews.com story quoted Sheriff Jimmy Jones saying that Henry Granju “had not been beaten with a tire iron or any other weapon two days before he was admitted to a hospital after an apparent drug overdose”:

‘Our investigation has shown that this is a simple assault,’ Jones said Friday. . . . ‘In addition, with the death Monday of Henry Louis Granju, there is no way to prosecute the two people who used fists to beat him,’ Jones said.

This sheriff needs to get a huge dictionary out in front of him and first look up “simple.” Somehow, assaults that play a role in a death cannot, by definition, be simple.

Questions, Big Questions

The Bosch Law Firm, representing the Granju family, has released a statement addressing the “unanswered question and incorrect information” surrounding Henry Granju’s case.

The Granjus will try to answer some of [those questions], supported by medical records from treating physicians in the upcoming days. . . . The Granjus and counsel will not be available for further public comment about this investigation until June 9, 2010.

No victim?

Un-interviewed alleged witnesses and assailants?

Attempted interview of a brain-damaged 18-year-old who could not speak?

Autopsy released to the public without prior notice to the family?

No tire iron; maybe only fists?

Whatever the facts turn out to be, however unable the Tennessee laws leave prosecutors to bring a case forward, whether laws or forensics can connect the assault to the death, whatever, whatever, whatever:

ALL OF THE ABOVE IS UNACCEPTABLE response from law enforcement. Period.

It leaves me furious, especially in light of what I am tolerating from our criminal justice system that has, for the third time, allowed my terribly addicted daughter back out on the streets, where only two options exist for her: back in jail or death.

Welcome to the Parallel World of Drug Addiction. Watch out for the glass and mirrors.

 

RIP, Henry Louis Granju

Sometime yesterday Katie Granju reactivated mamapundit.com and provided details about her son Henry’s Episcopal service in Knoxville, TN, to celebrate his life. It was held this morning. She also announced the creation of an endowed fund being set up in his name:

“Our family is starting what we hope will become a permanent, endowed fund that will provide scholarships for families who cannot afford to pay for needed drug and alcohol treatment programs for their children. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you remember our boy and his struggles by considering a donation to:

The Henry Louis Granju Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Administrator: James Anderson
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
2000 Meridian Blvd.
Suite 290
Franklin, TN 37067”

My contribution goes in the mail today. I believe strongly that research and treatment must replace America’s Drug War policies. These were insane 25 years ago, when it was clear even then that they were futile and counterproductive. These policies are today way beyond insane, having been taken to an illogical conclusion that is somewhere outside the known Universe.

I will send an equal contribution to A Woman’s Place here in Tuscaloosa, on whose Advisory Board AWPlogoI sit.  The logo, shown here, was designed by board member Kathy Bryars.

 

AWP, part of the Indian Rivers Community Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center, is one of the few treatment facilities in Alabama for women; it serves indigent patients, Medicaid patients, and those who can afford to pay for the services.

The problem is the waiting list, a most common problem with treatment facilities in the U.S.

DSC01129

The dining area of A Woman's Place servces up to sixteen clients.

The stone holding the Rotary Club plaque suggests a solid foundation for recovery at A Woman's Place.

Its physical facility exists in large part because of private contributions, and the Advisory Board is currently working on including halfway houses and programs as part of the services.

 

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Henry Granju’s death is under investigation:

[Henry’s uncle Robert] Allison said the family has given authorities the names of witnesses to the assault, as well as the names of Granju's alleged attackers.

The account also reports that Henry’s attack left the victim bleeding from his ears, with a broken jaw, broken ribs and brain injury, and that “the injuries were complicated by a dose of methadone he was given later the same night by acquaintances, who failed to call E-911 on his behalf until the next morning.”

Justice can be served in the court system; it can also be served by ordinary Americans’ donations to research and treatment.

The Day after Memorial Day: Reflecting on Drug Addiction’s Ultimate Cost

Shortly ago, I tried to go to Katie Granju’s blog at mamapundit.com and found that it had been suspended

I feared that Katie’s precious son Henry had not survived his terrible drug overdose and horrific beating, which left him with severe neurological damage.

(See the May 6, 2010, post “Living Addictions” categorized under Drug Addiction for some background information.)

A friend of mine who has also been following Katie’s horrendous ordeal sent me the screen shot of yesterday’s page from her blog; it clearly indicates he did not survive, although I am trying to further verify this awful news.

Granju

It seems that perhaps millions of people from all over the world have been have been checking with mamapundit.com during this time and sending very supportive comments daily to Katie and her family.

I checked with Katie’s blog early Sunday morning and was horrified to see that H. had taken such a serious turn for the worse; I was preparing for my three-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party that afternoon, but sat stunned; I cried over this development. It did not look hopeful.

My husband and I have full custody of Joanna Leigh because of our daughter’s quarter-of-a-century-long drug use. She also had recently overdosed and was sent by ambulance to the ICU. It could so easily been my own daughter, whose life I have feared for many, many times, including the several times she has worked for the West Alabama Narcotics unit wearing a wire to keep from going to jail. I knew she could have been killed. The drug life is a dangerous horrifying life.

Katie’s son, Henry, has paid the ultimate price, just as millions of other drug users in America have done and will continue to do until we Americans can come to terms with what drug use and addiction really are and how we all pay.

We in America, even those of us who don’t have an immediate family member who has suffered, even died, from drug use, including alcohol and prescription drug use, can start now dealing with the truth of how we all pay from this scourge. And there isn’t a better time than today – the day after we celebrated Memorial Day. After all, America has been waging a futile War on Drugs now for almost half a century.

Memorial Day carries strong emotional feelings for me. My father was a fighter pilot in World War II (see the June 22, 2009, “Real Father's Day Part II” post, categorized under Grandparents, for a brief account of his war experiences).

My brother lost his life in Vietnam in 1970. Visiting the War Memorial in Washington D.C. was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

The Associated Press recently ran an investigative piece on how America’s War on Drugs has been  futile and an utter failure. I intend to deal with their findings in later posts. We must now confront this truth and find a way to deal with America’s drug use effectively. What better time than to begin on June 1, after we honor those who have given their lives in all our wars.

I am going to continue to look for more information about Henry Granju. If anyone can provide information, many of us will appreciate it.

This morning I went and sat on my patio, where I often go to soothe my soul. My deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to Katie Granju and her family, as well as to all those who have suffered this kind of grief.

 

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