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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

‘…One day I’ll be wherever Henry is’: Rob Delaney on losing his toddler son


by Jennifer McShane
12th Dec 2020
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In a beautiful radio interview to mark Grief Awareness Week, Catastrophe and Deadpool 2 actor Rob Delaney spoke movingly about the death of his young son Henry


Delaney and his family went through a deep tragedy after his son Henry died in 2018 of a brain tumour when he was barely two years of age. The Deadpool 2 actor has now opened up about his son’s death and how the incident changed his perspective on parenthood and life.

His perception of life, death and raising his children all changed following Henry’s passing.

“Like many people, I used to be afraid of dying,” he said in the recording. “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.”

Speaking more about death, he explained he doesn’t know where his son went after his death, but “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. “That knowledge brings me peace. I won’t say ‘I can’t wait’ because I can.”

He also talked about how the loss changed his relationship with his three other sons, including his youngest who was born after Henry’s passing.

“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 now, I know what they really are. They’re temporary gatherings of stardust, just like Henry.”

“I’m here now, but one day I’ll be wherever Henry is,” he concluded. “I’ll have to die to get there, but that’s okay with me.”

“I hope this helps”

In 2018, writing on Medium, Delaney shared a beautiful and powerful essay detailing Henry’s diagnosis and illness, and how the devastation had impacted everything around his family and life.

“Henry’s tracheotomy tube prevents him from speaking, so I haven’t heard him make a peep for over a year. My wife recently walked in on me crying and listening to recordings of him babbling, from before his diagnosis and surgery.”

“I may wish Henry wasn’t in the hospital and it may make me f**king sick that my kids haven’t lived under the same roof for over a year. But I’m always, always happy to enter the hospital every morning and see him. It’s exciting every day to walk into his room and see him and see him see me,” he wrote. “…And when he smiles, forget about it. A regular baby’s smile is wonderful enough. When a sick baby with partial facial paralysis smiles, it’s golden. Especially if it’s my baby.”

You can read it in full here

Main photograph: @robdelaney


Read more: Niamh Ennis: “People often ask me ‘when does grief end?’, but the truth is it doesn’t”

Read more: The reality of grief: ‘One day he went to work and never came home’

Read more:‘Everything I learnt about grief after my youngest daughter died’