Rob Delaney is reflecting on his son Henry's death and how it changed his own perspective on dying.
The Catastrophe and Deadpool 2 actor, 43, and his wife Leah lost their 2½-year-old in January 2018 after the toddler battled brain cancer since 2016. Delaney, who is also dad to three other sons, has since been open about grieving the death of a child, and in a new audio piece for BBC Radio 4, he shares what has changed since.
"When I heard people were sharing so-called 'moments of light' on Radio 4, I got angry," the actor begins. "How dare they? A historic pandemic and its mismanagement by the government is killing people by the thousands and Radio 4 programmers want to distract people with some mid-tier celebrities' musings on lemon curd or parakeets? 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," continues Delaney. "Like many people, I used to be afraid of dying. But a little less than three years ago, our then-youngest son Henry died of a brain tumor. 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."
Delaney explains that though he doesn't know what became of his son after his death, he takes comfort in one day being with him again.
"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 says. "That knowledge brings me peace. I won't say 'I can't wait,' because I can."
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The father adds that Henry's death "didn't make me love our other sons any less."
"This includes the 2-year-old who was born in the same room in which Henry died, seven months later. That room happens to be our 'living' room," says Delaney.
"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."
"They won't be here forever," he continues. "They're here now, and it is my staggering privilege to get to hold them and 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."
"It's funny, I only just realized 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, but one day I'll be wherever Henry is. I'll have to die to get there, but that's okay with me," concludes Delaney.
In September, Delaney wrote on Instagram that he misses his "little boy so much and loves him forever." He went on to say "thank you forever to my community of bereaved parents who help me more than I can say."
"I love you Henry," he added at the time.
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