Comedian Patton Oswalt lost his wife writer Michelle McNamara suddenly on April 21, when she died in her sleep at the young age of 46. Now, Oswalt is beginning to publicly speak out in remembrance of his wife Michelle.
Oswalt penned a lengthy feature on his wife at Time magazine, to pay tribute to her life and the lasting impact that she’s made in the world.
At first, Oswalt remembered McNamara for her work as a true crime writer.
“There were also thoughtful, provocative ruminations on abiding crime topics — ‘The Big Fake Called The Fugue State,’ ‘Crowdsleuthing’ and ‘DNA (hooray).’ There was also a fascinating entry called ‘#bloodbath,’ a speculative masterpiece about how the Manson murders might have been different—or not happened at all—if our current social media infrastructure had existed in 1969.”
Patton also included her work as a social worker in Belfast and Oakland, as well as her screenwriting career in Los Angeles and her stint as a teacher at Minnesota State. The comedian grew reflective as he went on to explain the enormous outpouring sentiments from colleagues and strangers about Michelle’s sudden passing.
Then, Patton went on to explain how he is coping with the sudden loss of his wife. Heartbreakingly raw in only a way that Oswalt could write, he began to explain that he’s been missing a piece of himself since her death.
— The AV Club (@TheAVClub) May 3, 2016
“I loved her. This is the first time I’ve been able to use ‘I’ writing this. Probably because there hasn’t been much of an ‘I’ since the morning of April 21. There probably won’t be for a while. Whatever there is belongs to my daughter—to our daughter. Alice.”
Prior to sharing the Time magazine piece, Oswalt quoted their young daughter, Alice, and her grasp of her mother’s death. Even at the young age of 7, Alice seemed to understand the importance of legacy. He tweeted about the short exchange with his daughter and decided to include it in the Time piece.
“When your mom dies you’re the best memory of her. Everything you do is a memory of her.” — Alice Oswalt, 7
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 1, 2016
Of the exchange that he had with his daughter, Oswalt writes the following.
“That’s the kind of person Michelle created and helped shape.”
“That was Michelle. That is Michelle.”
“I love her.”
Since her passing, Oswalt has kept a low profile. From someone who tweeted constantly and let his opinion be known, Patton was understandably silenced by the sudden death of his wife. Instead, Oswalt slowly started to share tributes by The Hollywood Reporter and LA magazine.
— pajiba (@pajiba) May 3, 2016
At the time The Hollywood Reporter wrote the following.
“It’s the ones that really don’t get that much attention that interest me because I think what’s interesting about them is there’s more stuff to be unearthed that hasn’t been in the public yet and you can do it.”
Then on April 29, Ostwalt shared a small sentiment about his wife.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 29, 2016
As it just so happened, Patton Oswalt’s Netflix special Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping was released on the same day that the news broke of McNamara’s passing.
Following the reports on Patton’s wife’s death, it was also reported that his stand up show was cancelled due to the sudden events. The show was officially slated to go on May 22, but his official site reflected the cancellation.
[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LACMA]