Joy mixed with sorrow

I might as well confess that I enjoy a good funeral.  The singing, the eulogizing, the visiting with rarely seen friends and relatives, even the catharsis of tears.  But implicit in my notion of the “good funeral” is that it is a remembrance for one who lived a full and long life.  Funerals for those whose lives have been cut tragically short are usually another matter.
But Henry’s family managed to strike the perfect balance in their celebration of his life today.  There were tears, yes.  Yet everything about the ceremony was oriented toward celebration and remembrance–the thousands of loose flowers carried up by younger family members, the candle lighting, the readings so bravely read by his younger siblings, the communal singing of “Let it Be” led by Katie’s cousin.
I am in awe of Henry’s father, Chris, for being able to stand before us all and talk about his son without breaking down completely.  His spoken words brought Henry to life for us just as Katie’s written words have.  He spoke of the sorrow of losing his son but also of his joy at having known him.  And he spoke of Henry’s final gift of bringing the family closer as a result of having banded together to care for him over the past five weeks, a legacy he said would last.
I met Katie through her blog, and rarely see her in person.  Like so many who have faithfully followed Henry’s story, I have longed to do something–anything–to help.  I’ve prayed, and I’ve commented with such feeble words of wisdom as I could muster, but for me the highlight of the day was being able to finally give her an actual hug instead of a virtual one.

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  1. October 20, 2010

    […] written a lot over the past few months about the tragic early death of Henry Louis Granju.  That story is now going to be told on television.  If you aren’t local (or, like me, […]

  2. January 2, 2011

    […] The busiest day of the year was August 10th with 306 views. The most popular post that day was Joy mixed with sorrow. […]

  3. March 7, 2011

    […] I became a fan of Katie Allison Granju at least ten years ago, when she was writing her column “Loco Parentis” in the Metropulse (that’s our alternative weekly for my non-Knoxvillian readers.).  It was near the back of the paper, I remember, and the first place I turned when I picked up my copy.  When she stopped writing for the Metropulse, I went hunting on the web for more of her writing and discovered her blog, and I have been a faithful reader ever since–through the aftermath of her divorce, her new marriage and fourth baby, and more recently the terrible tragedy she and her family have suffered with the death of her treasured son Henry. […]

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