Rob Delaney on dealing with death of his two-year-old son: 'It’s so weird to me how we deny grief'

Catastrophe actor explains why he feels need to talk publicly about his grief

Olivia Petter
Sunday 30 December 2018 12:44 GMT

Rob Delaney has spoken out about coping with grief following the death of his son Henry, who was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was a one-year-old.

The Catastrophe actor announced his son's death on Twitter in February and in September, he wrote a deeply candid and emotional essay on Medium about managing Henry's illness, for which he received widespread support.

Now, the 41-year-old has told The Sunday Times why he feels the need to discuss his son’s death publicly, explaining how misguided some people’s perceptions surrounding grief can be.

Delaney revealed how this manifests when people ask him how he is coping, only to retract it and call it a “stupid question” in light of what he has been through.

But he insists he loves being asked the question, so long as people can handle his honest answer.

“I tell people, I’m a balloon that is filled almost to the point of bursting, and when you bring up my dead son, it’s like you’ve let a little out. It’s like a gift,” he said.

“I’m an ambassador from the f****** other side now, and I feel a bit of a responsibility, being in the public eye, to show people what grief looks like.

“It’s just so weird to me how we deny grief, how we shut it out.”

Actor Rob Delaney reveals son's death in heartbreaking post

Delaney’s comments come just a few days after he posted a series of tweets about spending his first Christmas without Henry, which he explained was his way of trying to “destigmatise” grief and offer his support to fellow bereaved parents who might have been suffering during the festive season.

“We talked about him a lot and included his memory throughout the day,” he wrote.

“I speak publicly about Henry in an effort to destigmatise grief. My family is sad and in pain because our beautiful 2 yr old boy died after a long illness. Why wouldn’t we be sad? Why wouldn’t we be angry and confused?”

He clarified that writing tweets such as these were not “therapeutic” for him.

I just want other bereaved parents and siblings to feel seen/heard/respected/loved,” he continued.

“And maybe they might help someone not schooled in grief support a friend better. I don’t know.”

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