Patton Oswalt Shares Message On Grief Months After Wife’s Death

Patton Oswalt/Michelle McNamara, John Shearer/Getty

Patton Oswalt, comedian and actor in shows such as King of Queens and United States of Tara, shared a brutally honest reflection of grief with his Facebook followers Monday night. Oswalt’s Facebook post reflects on being what Patton calls “102 days at the mercy of grief and loss,” expressing that it feels like 102 years. Oswalt’s wife Michelle McNamara passed away suddenly in her sleep on April 22 at the age of 46.

Patton Oswalt and fellow 'King of Queens' cast members Kevin James, Leah Remini, and Jerry Stiller celebrated 200 episodes in 2007. Image by Frederick M Brown/Getty.

The heartbreak Oswalt is experiencing is palpable as he goes on to discuss how deep the wounds of grief go. While Patton explains how much one can achieve in 102 days of focusing on one thing such as learning a language or traveling the world, Oswalt notes that the pain of loss and the complete focus on that is unrelenting.

“You will not be physically healthier. You will not feel ‘wiser.’ You will not have ‘closure.’ You will not have ‘perspective’ or ‘resilience’ or ‘a new sense of self.’ You WILL have solid knowledge of fear, exhaustion and a new appreciation for the randomness and horror of the universe. And you’ll also realize that 102 days is nothing but a warm-up for things to come.”

Though Oswalt’s post seems hopeless, Patton acknowledges that the support from family, friends, and even strangers that he has received since the loss of McNamara has been a lifeline.

“You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends,” Oswalt continues. “Complete strangers will send you genuinely touching messages on Facebook and Twitter, or will somehow figure out your address to send you letters which you’ll keep and re-read ’cause you can’t believe how helpful they are.”

Patton Oswalt and Michelle McNamara, an author, were married for 11 years. Oswalt and McNamara had one daughter together, Alice, who was 7 years old at the time of McNamara’s death.

Patton Oswalt and his daughter Alice at the premiere for Disney's 'Inside Out' June 2015. Image by Jesse Grant/Getty
In May, Oswalt reflected on his first meeting with McNamara with People, stating it was pretty much love at first sight for Patton. Michelle had been attending one of Oswalt’s stand-up routines and after the show came up to compliment him.

“I was so stunned by how beautiful she was that I let her walk away,” Patton said. Encouraged by a friend to go after McNamara, Oswalt ran into the street after her to ask her out.

In an op-ed piece for Time this past May, Patton Oswalt reflected on the impact his wife made on the world, stating, “She hasn’t left a void, she’s left a blast crater.” Though no cause of death has been revealed for Michelle McNamara, it’s clear that the suddenness left the normally quick-on-his-feet-thinking Oswalt almost too stunned to respond to a loss so overwhelming.

At the end of May, a Twitter post by Patton indicated he would be taking a break from his career to practice some self care in the wake of the loss of his wife.

Oswalt has remained active on his social media, however, realizing the comedic gold the 2016 presidential election has presented. And Patton promises that though he is now “crawling” through grief as he described, Oswalt will eventually be a comedian for the world again.

“Okay, I’ll start being funny again soon. What other choice do I have?” Oswalt ended his Facebook post, noting that even in death, life goes on.

To read Patton Oswalt’s reflection on grief in its entirety, click here.

[Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images]