Henry’s Story

Henry Louis Granju was a beautiful boy. He was a son, brother, nephew, grandchild and friend who was loved by all who knew him. Henry had a kind heart and had faith in people. He loved playing his guitar, reading history books, and spending time with his family and friends.  He had a brilliant, challenging mind, a terrific sense of humor, a beautiful head of dark curly hair and a sly smile.

At 14 Henry smoked pot for the first time. He felt terrible about it and told his mom. Later, after becoming a regular user, he told her that that he smoked it because it made him feel normal. Eventually he couldn’t stop and began experimenting with other drugs and slipped into addiction and the horrible life that comes with it.

By the last year or two of his short life – after Henry became involved with the prescription drugs that eventually killed him – Henry was physically and mentally addicted. Every day for him became a painful, depressing, terrible struggle to find a way to procure enough of the chemicals each day that would keep him from becoming very sick with withdrawal. He told his mom that once he started using the pills, he woke up every morning determined not to use that day, but went to sleep every night feeling like a complete failure. Henry’s life as a drug addict was – for him – depressing, dangerous, humiliating, painful and ultimately, fatal. His addiction pulled him away from everything he had known – loving parents and siblings, a comfortable home, good schools, family travel, music and community – and launched him into a frightening underworld of dangerous, cruel people who were able to prey on him because he was both naive and desperate. He was sick. That’s all there was to it; Henry was very, very sick.

On April 28th, 2010 Henry was brought to the hospital by ambulance from the home of two drug dealers. He had spent hours aspirating on his own vomit and was unconscious. Miraculously, he woke two days later. Henry spent the next 33 days fighting to come back to his family. He fought hard but lost his battle on May 31, 2010.