Rob Delaney, who co-writes and co-stars in the British TV show Catastrophe, is a very funny man. But as funny as he is, he is even better at truth-telling, which is what he does in this interview with Russell Howard about the death of his son Henry and the grief that followed.
Midway through the interview Delaney discusses the discomfort others have with talking to someone who’s experienced a loss:
What I would say to someone in that situation—and it’s not one size fits all—you know somebody who’s lost, you know, like a big one, like a sibling or a child or a spouse or something: they’re thinking about that… I’m thinking about Henry. So if you come up to me and you say, you know, “hey I heard it’s been just about a year since your son passed away,” and I would say “yah, yah, it has…”, you might think you brought him up; you didn’t bring him up, I was already thinking about him, and you allowed me to just talk about him a little bit and think about him, and to me that’s such a pleasure…
I heard something similar several years ago from a friend whose son had died: when others avoided the subject, out of fear that bringing it up would be uncomfortable, it was a little bit like his son had never existed. Like Delaney, he was thinking about his son all the time, and to be able to share that with someone was a gift, not a discomfort.