Comedian, actor, and writer Rob Delaney is remembering the life of his 2-year-old son Henry, as his family goes through their first holiday season without him, E! News is reporting. Delaney shared the devastating news of his son’s passing on Facebook this February. According to the post, Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016. This resulted in vomiting and weight loss before Henry had surgery to remove the tumor and go through follow-up treatment in early 2017. In the fall of 2017, the cancer returned, and Henry ended up passing away in January 2018. Now, Delaney is sharing his grief on Twitter in hopes of helping others work through their own grieving process.
“Our first Christmas without Henry came & went,” Delaney tweeted on Wednesday, December 26. “The day itself was okay, maybe because there were so many horrible, painful days leading up to it; we must have hit our quota or something. We talked about him a lot & included his memory throughout the day.”
“I speak publicly about Henry in an effort to destigmatize grief,” he added in another tweet. “My family is sad & 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?”
“Tweets like this aren’t therapeutic to me, nor are they ‘updates,'” Delaney wrote in his last tweet. “I just want other bereaved parents & siblings to feel seen/heard/respected/loved. And maybe they might help someone not schooled in grief support a friend better. I don’t know.”
Here’s Henry not long before he died. You can see his little tracheostomy tube on his neck and his left eye is turned in due to nerve damage from surgery. He has a bus & a turtle though so he’s happy.He was such a sweet boy. pic.twitter.com/D3liQXOqyi— rob delaney (@robdelaney) April 16, 2018
Delaney is receiving hundreds of tweets of support in response to his candid posts, with many Twitter users opening up about their own personal losses and sharing their experiences of mourning during the holidays. According to USA Today, Delaney was beginning to write a book detailing his son’s experience with a brain tumor but scrapped the project upon learning Henry only had months to live.
He still wants to tell his son’s story, however, and wrote an essay this year that elaborated on Henry’s illness. He shared in the essay how Henry developed facial paralysis following his surgery, with damaged cranial nerves also resulting in deafness in his left ear. Henry also had to use a tracheotomy tube that prevented him from speaking. Delaney went on to share how much he misses his son’s babbling and his smile. While these details are devastating, they are certainly relatable for many parents out there who have endured losing a child.
While Henry’s presence is irreplaceable, Delaney and his family are attempting to move forward. In June, Delaney announced that his wife is pregnant again. He and his wife also have two other sons.