The lovely Rob Delaney was interviewed by Russell Howard about his grief and his beautiful memories of Henry as he approaches his one-year anniversary.
Rob talks about how bereavement groups can support parents that have lost a child and how it’s helpful to meet bereaved parents that are ‘further on’ in their grief:
I galloped to the first bereaved parents meeting, let me fill my emotions with people who are judging and who know what it’s like….I talk to other parents who’ve lost kids and they say that as time goes on, and it can take a lot of time, that what happens when they think about their child that died, the first thing they feel is really happy.
And he gives advice to the non-bereaved…. What should someone say to a bereaved parent? At SLOW we know this is a minefield for the non-bereaved but in our experience we find that, more than anything, bereaved parents want to desperately talk about their son or daughter that died:-
What I would say to someone in that situation is, and it’s not one size fits all. If you know somebody who’s lost a big one, like a sibling, a child, a spouse or something. They’re, you’re thinking about that person, I’m thinking about Henry… so if you colme up to me and say “Hey I heard it’s about a year since your son passed away’. You didn’t bring him up, I was already thinking aobut him and you allowed me to talk about him and think about him and that to me is such a pleasure. I’m not tying to put a verbal band aid on anyone’s grief so you can also try and relax because there is nothing you can say that will fix it but you should acknowledge it.
Which reminds me of my all-time favourite grief quote from Elizabeth Edwards:
Rob summed up his grief by talking about how love and grief are intertwined:-
The reason it hurts so much is because of how much I love him. Grief and love are really weaved together. So, I should be sad right now.
At SLOW we provide a safe space to share and talk to other bereaved parents about the pain of losing a child. All bereaved parents are welcome, at any time after the death of their child. All our groups are facilitated by bereaved parents. For more information on our forthcoming groups click here
Need a new year’s fitness challenge? Come and run for SLOW at the Royal Parks Half Marathon!
SLOW has five places for the Royal Park’s Half Marathon in London on 13th October 2019. The stunning 13.1 mile route takes in the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads, and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. Registration is free for each place with a minimum fundraising target or £400 per runner.
If you are up for it please contact Kelly Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org
SLOW member, Rob Delaney, gives a truthful and powerful portrayal of Henry’s terminal illness and the horrific heartbreak that followed his death and the effect on his family. It’s a truly beautiful article that is brave and honest. For the full article click here, to access the article you can register for free (or subscribe) to the Sunday Times.
Whenever anyone asks Delaney how he is, they tend to add hastily, “Oh my God, that’s a stupid question.” No, it isn’t, he tells them — “If you’re ready to hear the answer. The answer is my heart hurts, OK? I had trouble getting out of bed today, and I cried before I got up. And then I had a cup of coffee, played with my other kids, came and said hello to my wife, and then I started to feel better. Then I got sad again. So I love that question. I tell people, I’m a balloon that is filled almost to the point of bursting, and when you bring up my dead son, it’s like you’ve let a little out. It’s like a gift.”
Are people ready to hear that answer? “Not everybody, but I don’t care. I’m an ambassador from the f****** other side now, and I feel a bit of a responsibility, being in the public eye, to show people what grief looks like.” He pauses for a moment to reflect. “It’s just so weird to me how we deny grief, how we shut it out.”
In this moving article Rob also talks about the SLOW groups and the support they have given him and his family:
We live on a lunar outpost now. Except on this lunar outpost, there are other [bereaved] parents. There are good people here, but we are different.” Delaney and his wife attend a group for bereaved parents. “Which is just such a sacred experience. The amount they help us is truly staggering. And I didn’t have to be coaxed into it, because I knew the power of sitting around in a group and talking about a problem.”
SLOW understands that is it vitally important for bereaved parents to verbalise the pain, talk about what happened, share their child and ask questions – sometimes over and over – with other parents that understand. SLOW support groups are here for bereaved parents weeks, months or even years after the death of a child. All our groups are facilitated by bereaved parents. For more information on our forthcoming groups click here
Actor, Rob Delaney and his wife, Sarah, lost their 2-year-old son, Henry, in January 2018. Here he writes honestly and poignantly about Henry’s illness and treatment.
Henry’s tracheotomy tube prevents him from speaking, so I haven’t heard him make a peep for over a year. My wife recently walked in on me crying and listening to recordings of him babbling, from before his diagnosis and surgery. I’d recorded his brothers doing Alan Partridge impressions and Henry was in the background, probably playing with the dishwasher, and just talking to himself, in fluent baby. Fucking music, oh my God I want to hear him again. Now he has a foam-cuffed tracheotomy tube in his beautiful throat, rendering him mute.
The post was originally intended to be part of a book for the parents of sick children:
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. I’d still like them to know that, so here these few pages are, for them. Or for you.
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.
To read Rob’s article in full please click here.
Many of the bereaved parents at SLOW have nursed their children through painful illnesses and treatment. After their children die some are lost without the routine of hospital admissions and caring responsibilities of looking after their seriously ill child.
SLOW welcomes all bereaved parents irrespective of whether their child was an adult or a baby, or the varying circumstances in which they died. And though circumstances surrounding the deaths of our children differ widely, parents find a way to share their pain and grief.
Should you need bereavement support following the death of your child please contact us. Click here for further details of how to get in touch.