I’d like to die in the room where my son’s life ended, says Rob Delaney

Rob Delaney poses for a photograph at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Rob Delaney lives and works in the UK and is best known for the TV sitcom Catastrophe - Craig Brown/Alamy

Rob Delaney has said he would like to buy the house his son died in so he can also experience his own last moments there.

The US comedian and actor’s son Henry died in 2018 aged two after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Delaney, 47, was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, why he and his wife told Henry before anyone else that they were expecting their fourth son.

He replied: “He had to know that this family that loved him was alive and was growing .. that there’d be another little nugget in the house that he could vibe with from whatever area in the cosmos he was.”

Delaney said the couple also wanted Henry to know that, after his death, his younger brother would be told about him.

He added: “And we knew that they would not overlap corporeally on this Earth, even though Henry’s younger brother was born in the same room that Henry died in, our living room.

“We don’t live there anymore but when we moved out, I asked the landlord, I said: ‘Listen, if you ever go to sell this place, let me know first because I would like to buy it.’

“So that when I’m 81, I can crawl in here and die. In the same room that my son died in, that my other son was born in.”

‘London took good care of him’

Delaney said he and his wife Leah had considered leaving London, but stayed in the city because of their memories of Henry.

“For so many reasons, we’ve stayed, one of which is I like to go put my hands on slides at the playground that Henry slid down.

The American comic said he occasionally bumps into the nurses who looked after Henry, adding: “London took very good care of him – the NHS at large, the friends that we made, even our little boys’ friends… London has helped us and taken care of us in many ways.”

Delaney said, he thought at first he would struggle with a new addition to his family, because his heart had been “torn into pieces and dissolved in salt – and it’s just garbage”.

He said he was thinking: “I’ll take care of this kid, I will feed him, I will put him in clothing that fits [but] am I gonna be able to love him? I don’t know if I can do that anymore.

“And then, the nanosecond he exited my wife’s body, I looked at him and just you know, started weeping and was so in love with him … and I love him desperately.”

‘Honour your pain’

Speaking of his grief for Henry, Delaney said: “You have to … feel and honour your pain. You have to let it hurt – and you can’t run away from it. When the feelings come it’s best to let them.”

The Catastrophe star has had more than two decades of sobriety following a car crash that prompted him to give up drinking.

He said: “It’s nothing more interesting than garden variety alcoholism. You know, I found that drinking just made me just feel better, complete, happier, relaxed.

“You know, anytime I took a drink, it was just like, ‘this is it’. I first got drunk at 12 and then began to drink with more regularity at 14.

“I had alcoholism on both sides of my family. And so then I got it too and... it doesn’t really care where you come from.”