By Karen Mizoguchi
Eight months after his son Henry died, Rob Delaney is hoping to help fellow parents of sick children with an emotional essay.
Recalling his 2½-year-old child’s two-year battle with brain cancer, the actor, 41, explained he had started writing a book to remind others that “someone understood and cared” about what it’s like to care for a sick child.
“The responses to this from parents & siblings of sick kids – and of course kids who’ve died – makes me glad I posted it. There are some very good people in the world and I appreciate all your kind words.”
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The Catastrophe star reflected on the several bus rides he and Henry took from one doctor’s appointment to another to figure out what was wrong with his youngest child after the father of three first noticed his son was vomiting frequently.
“I would try not to cry in front of his older brothers and fail and they’d ask why, and I would say it was because I was scared,” Delaney recalled of his two sons worrying about their father.
While one physician thought Henry had a UTI, a gastroenterologist simply prescribed a drug to prevent puking. It wasn’t until a friend recommended their pediatrician that the Delaney family would learn that Henry, who just turned 2 at the time, had a glial tumor on his brain.
Though he was struggling with physical and emotional fatigue, Delaney recalled being “always, always happy to enter the hospital every morning and see” Henry, who had a drooping face due to Bell’s palsy post-surgery and a left eye that was turned inward due to nerve damage.
In addition, Henry’s tracheotomy stopped him from speaking and damage to his cranial nerves resulted in him being deaf in one ear. “My wife recently walked in on me crying and listening to recordings of him babbling, from before his diagnosis and surgery,” the Deadpool 2 star shared.
The details of Henry’s illness were collected in essays for a book proposal Delaney had put together, however, when Henry’s tumor came back, Delaney stopped his writing to focus on being with his son, who had months to live.
“I stopped writing when we saw the new, bad MRI. My wife and his brothers and I just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy. And they were,” Delaney said.
“The reason I’m putting this out there now is that the intended audience for this book was to be my fellow parents of very sick children. They were always so tired and sad, like ghosts, walking the halls of the hospitals, and I wanted them to know someone understood and cared,” he explained.
“I’d still like them to know that … But I can’t write that book anymore because our family’s story has a different ending than I’d hoped for. Maybe I’ll write a different book in the future, but now my responsibility is to my family and myself as we grieve our beautiful Henry.”
In a statement shared on his Facebook page Feb. 9, Delaney revealed that his son had died in January.
Then in late June, five months after Henry’s death, Delaney announced that he and his wife are expecting a baby.