The grief of a co­me­dian

The Week (US) - - News - ½

In early 2016, Rob De­laney thought his life was pretty much per­fect, said Decca Aitken­head in The Times (U.K.). Af­ter decades in the en­ter­tain­ment wilder­ness, the Amer­i­can co­me­dian was now the star of a hit Bri­tish TV se­ries, Catastrophe; his stand-up shows were sell­ing out; and Hol­ly­wood was call­ing. Then ev­ery­thing changed. On his el­dest son’s fifth birth­day, De­laney’s 9-month-old, Henry, threw up. De­laney, now 41, as­sumed Henry had eaten too much party food. “It didn’t seem like a big deal,” De­laney says, but the vom­it­ing didn’t stop. Henry kept los­ing weight, and doc­tors only di­ag­nosed the cause when he was a year old: a large, ma­lig­nant tu­mor next to his brain stem. He un­der­went emergency surgery and re­lent­less rounds of chemo­ther­apy; Henry died last Jan­uary at age 2 . De­laney still strug­gles with grief daily, but finds it a re­lief when peo­ple ask how he’s do­ing—so long as they’re ready to hear the an­swer. “The an­swer is that my heart hurts, OK? I had trou­ble get­ting out of bed to­day, and I cried be­fore I got up. Then I played with my other kids, said hello to my wife, and I started to feel bet­ter. Then I got sad again. So I love that ques­tion. 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.”

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