Rob Delaney shares experience of first Christmas without son

As of the afternoon of Nov. 2, Rob Delaney had 946,960 Twitter followers. That number surely will have grown by the time you read this. (This photo is a PR handout) Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank/Courtesy of Spiegel -- 15Delaney
Robyn Von Swank/Courtesy of Spiegel
Rob Delaney

The day after Christmas, Rob Delaney tweeted about what the holiday was like without his son Henry, who died at age 2½ earlier this year. The “Catastrophe” actor and Marblehead native wrote that he talks publicly about Henry to help “destigmatize grief” for other families who have experienced loss. Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and died in January.

“Our first Christmas without Henry came & went,” Delaney wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “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,” Delaney continued in a second 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 a third 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.”

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In September, Delaney published an essay on Medium about parenting a chronically ill child. Delaney said the essay was originally the beginning of a book proposal for “fellow parents of very sick children,” but that he stopped working on it after Henry’s tumor returned.

Over 1,400 people have responded to Delaney’s Wednesday Twitter thread, among them other grieving family members who shared their own experiences. Delaney replied to a number of the stories.

Lillian Brown can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.