Catastrophe star Rob Delaney says his son Henry’s death made him love his other children ‘better’

Catastrophe star Rob Delaney has said the tragic death of his toddler son Henry from brain cancer made him love his three other children ‘better’.

The actor, 43, and wife Leah lost their beloved son Henry aged two in January 2018, with Rob telling BBC Radio 4 that he cherishes the times he spends with the couple’s three other sons more than ever, and that he is no longer afraid of dying. 

Rob shared his feelings on his grief and own mortality when asked about his ‘Moment of Light’ – which he revealed was thinking about his own death which gave him peace.   

Forever loved: Catastrophe star Rob Delaney has said the tragic death of his toddler son Henry from a brain tumour made him love his three other children 'better'

Forever loved: Catastrophe star Rob Delaney has said the tragic death of his toddler son Henry from a brain tumour made him love his three other children 'better'

Forever loved: Catastrophe star Rob Delaney has said the tragic death of his toddler son Henry from a brain tumour made him love his three other children ‘better’

He said: ‘When I heard people were sharing so called moments of light on Radio 4, I got angry.

‘How dare they. A historic pandemic and its mismanagement by the government is killing people by the thousands… 

‘I got so angry, I needed a moment of light myself, so I began to think about my own death.

‘I think about dying a lot and it always makes me feel good. Like many people I used to be afraid of dying.

Tragic loss: The actor, 43, and wife Leah, lost their beloved son Henry aged two in January 2018, with Rob telling BBC Radio 4 that he cherishes the times he spends with the couple's three other sons more than ever, and that he is no longer afraid of dying

Tragic loss: The actor, 43, and wife Leah, lost their beloved son Henry aged two in January 2018, with Rob telling BBC Radio 4 that he cherishes the times he spends with the couple's three other sons more than ever, and that he is no longer afraid of dying

Tragic loss: The actor, 43, and wife Leah, lost their beloved son Henry aged two in January 2018, with Rob telling BBC Radio 4 that he cherishes the times he spends with the couple’s three other sons more than ever, and that he is no longer afraid of dying

‘But a little less than three years ago, our then-youngest son Henry died of a brain tumour. It so happens he died on the morning of my 41st birthday

‘Thus, that date’s significance has been exchanged for something far larger and more powerful.

‘I don’t know where Henry went or what happened to him when he died, do you? But I know I’ll get to find out when I die.

‘At the very least I’ll get to experience something Henry experienced and that’s wonderful. That knowledge brings me peace. I won’t say I can’t wait because I can.’

Reflecting on raising the couple’s three other sons, he said: ‘Henry wasn’t our only son and his death didn’t make me love our other sons any less.

Devoted dad: Rob wrote the sitcom Catastrophe during his son's cancer battle pictured with Sharon Horgan

Devoted dad: Rob wrote the sitcom Catastrophe during his son's cancer battle pictured with Sharon Horgan

Devoted dad: Rob wrote the sitcom Catastrophe during his son’s cancer battle pictured with Sharon Horgan

‘This includes the two-year-old who was born in the same room in which Henry died seven months later.

‘That room happens to be our ‘living room’. I don’t know if Henry’s death made me love his brothers more, but it certainly made me love them better.

‘Because when I hold them, I know what they really are. They’re temporary gatherings of stardust just like Henry

‘They won’t be here forever, they’re here now and it is my staggering privilege to get to hold them, smell them and stare at them.’

‘Sometimes I feel like a piece of metal, floating, suspended, between the magnetic push of life and the pull of death’s gravity. I guess that means I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

He said: 'I don't know where Henry went or what happened to him when he died, do you? But I know I'll get to find out when I die At the very least I'll get to experience something Henry experienced and that's wonderful'

He said: 'I don't know where Henry went or what happened to him when he died, do you? But I know I'll get to find out when I die At the very least I'll get to experience something Henry experienced and that's wonderful'

He said: ‘I don’t know where Henry went or what happened to him when he died, do you? But I know I’ll get to find out when I die At the very least I’ll get to experience something Henry experienced and that’s wonderful’

It’s funny, I’ve only just realised I’m telling you this from the couch where Henry died. Same couch where I wrestled with his three brothers this morning. 

‘I’m here now and one day I’ll be where Henry is. I’ll have to die to get there but that’s okay with me.’

Rob revealed Henry was diagnosed with his brain tumour in 2016 after suffering persistent vomiting and weight loss, shortly after he turned one.   

The toddler underwent surgery to remove a tumour in addition to further treatment, spending a gruelling 15 months in hospital. But his family were told his cancer had returned in the autumn of 2017 before he passed away the following January. 

Back in December 2018, Rob revealed his wife Leah gave birth to their ‘magical’ fourth son back in August – seven months after son Henry passed away.

While he has previously discussed the joy of their new tot, he admitted he struggles every day with his raging grief.  

In his chat with the Evening Standard, he said: ‘I’m a mess. My child died 14 months ago and I’m basically a bag of wet rubbish. I need a lot of help…

‘It has been very hard. It comes in waves. I’ve learned to not control how the waves come. Right now I’m sad a lot.

‘The reason I’m being honest with you and not trying to impress you, and make you think I’m cool or that I’m a tough guy, or maybe working through loss in an inspiring way, is that I have found that if a bereaved parent or bereaved sibling reads this…

‘I want them to know that it’s okay that they feel terrible, sad, confused and so brutally humbled.’  

After the final series of Catastrophe hits screens, he detailed how he managed to both write and film the series during his son’s battle.

Rob told the Radio Times: ‘Shoots were hard. Sometimes I’d need to take a break and just go cry. Writing them, logistically, was difficult. We rented an office right by Great Ormond Street Hospital so I could duck in and out as needed on series three.’

‘I found incredible sadness and confusion and anger not incompatible with work. I found grief not incompatible with work. I can’t return emails any more, or do basic admin, and my memory is fundamentally damaged…

‘So there are things that I’m much worse at now. Joking around and imagining stories has not suffered. Maybe because it’s almost like a vital sign.’ 

If you have been affected by this story, please contact Child Bereavement UK on 0800 02 888 40 or visit www.childbereavementuk.org 

Bundle of joy: In December 2018, Rob revealed his wife Leah gave birth to their 'magical' fourth son back in August - seven months after son Henry passed away (pictured 2018)

Bundle of joy: In December 2018, Rob revealed his wife Leah gave birth to their 'magical' fourth son back in August - seven months after son Henry passed away (pictured 2018)

Bundle of joy: In December 2018, Rob revealed his wife Leah gave birth to their ‘magical’ fourth son back in August – seven months after son Henry passed away (pictured 2018)

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