A Night When I Long to Be With Other Mothers
Usually, a night in a hotel room by myself is something I look forward to: an opportunity to crawl into bed early and fall asleep reading or watching TV. But tonight, instead of savoring the solitude, my heart is heavy and I'm longing to connect with the community of mothers so that we can make sense of this thing.
A mother who has cherished mothering as much as any among us will be burying her 18 year old son this weekend.
I am not violating any trust by letting you know that Katie Granju's much-loved son Henry passed away Monday. The news services are carrying the story. The backstory has been out there for weeks.
My heart is very much with Katie tonight. I am thinking about the searing pain of grief that will settle in once the initial shock and numbness subsides.
Katie is strong, resourceful, and has a massive support network in place, but, ultimately, grief is a solitary journey.
While Katie will be surrounded by friends and family members ready to walk beside her as she comes to terms with the death of her son, ultimately, she is the one who will have to find the courage to venture from Life With Henry to Life After Henry (the great dividing line in her life forevermore).
I am also thinking about the cruel and unthinking comments that people have made on various articles describing the events leading up to her son's death, linking the circumstances of Henry's death (an attack related to a drug deal gone terribly wrong) to her long-standing (and often outspoken) commitment to attachment parenting. As if an abundance of parental love could be bad for a child.
I have no doubt that Katie will find a way to make some good come out of this terrible tragedy. The Granju family has already announced plans for a scholarship fund to enable families who cannot afford to pay for needed drug and alcohol treatment programs for their children to obtain treatment for their children. (Donations may be sent 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).
What I worry about is Katie overlooking the need to take care of herself as she emerges from the hurricane of grief and dives into the whirlwind of post-grief activism.
That's why I'm tagging on this note for Katie, from one mother to another mother who has walked a similar (although not identical) path:
Katie, you are a unique and special person: a gifted writer; a passionate advocate on behalf of mothers and children; and a mother-to-be yet again. The best gift you can offer the world in the days ahead is the gift of a strong and revitalized you. You will be forever changed by this experience: that is a given. Don't run from grief and don't let it run over you. Let it flow through you. - Ann