A year after his wife passed away, Patton Oswalt shares the aftermath in a touching post
Patton Oswalt has spent the last twelve months adjusting to life as a widower and single parent. All along, he’s shared his journey in beautifully written posts and his most recent is no exception.
“Last night I took off my wedding ring. I couldn’t bear removing it since April 21st, 2016. But now it felt obscene.”
Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, died unexpectedly on April 21, 2016. Yesterday, the stand-up comedian took to Facebook to share a heartfelt post about his journey, and coming to terms with his new reality.
Oswalt has discussed his new family dynamic in the past, but he’s been fairly tight-lipped about the tragedy. Yesterday, he shared the perspective he’s gained over the past year.
“It’s awful, but it’s not fatal. That’s the dispatch I’m sending back from exactly one year into this shadow-slog.”
The brilliant comedian and prolific tweeter also reflected on the day his world was forever altered.
“There was an art show at Alice’s school in the afternoon and my wife and I were going to go, get dragged around the room by Alice as she chattered about her artwork and the work of her classmates. Except instead I came back down into the house and the life I knew was gone.”
But don’t worry, he’s doing his best not to wallow. He knows he can’t, not with a daughter to raise, all by himself.
“And no, I’m not making today any sort of dark ritual or painful memorial. No graveside visit. Those are for when Alice and I have something exciting to say to her. No candle lighting or ballon launching. We think of her every day — she’s still so tied into our worlds, in a way that’s encouraging, and energizing. So why light a flame that will die, or release a balloon that will disappear? Michelle’s gone but she wasn’t the kind of soul that disappears or dies out.”
It’s clear how heavy his wife’s passing weighs on him, and yesterday’s missive seems to indicate an attempt at closure. He discussed the kindred spirits he’s met, people who are weathering similar tragedies. As usual, he stays away from the sentimental.
“And no, we don’t “see it each other’s eyes” or “sense it without saying it.” We went through something that transformed us but, for the most part, we keep it together. We lost someone who made us live better in the world. It would be an insult to them not suddenly live badly in this world.”
As for where he stands a year after the tragic passing of a life he clearly adored?
“I plan things better. I’m more patient. I still sleep badly, and my weight and health need some work, but that’s combat damage. There’s got to be a way to fix those without being shitty to friends and strangers who are struggling with chaos. I’ll try.”
He still hasn’t recovered from the loss – I’m not sure anyone ever could – but he’s soldiering on. At the end of his post, he repeats the mantra that opened it, in what seems to be a joint effort to reassure us his fans that he’s okay and while simultaneously convincing himself.
“One year in. Another year starting. It’s awful, but it’s not fatal. Message received? Over and out.”