If you’ve never lost anyone close, then luckily for you, grief is something you don’t yet know. There are those people who’ve lost a loved one and are so brave and move on — most likely because they know that’s what they would’ve wanted; that’s tough to understand. And then there’s Patton Oswalt, actor, comedian and writer, who has taken a break from the funny stuff while he continues to grieve his wife Michelle McNamara, take care of their daughter and help finish his wife’s book, which was left unfinished but nearly complete at the time of her death.
Oswalt took to Facebook 102 days after Michelle passed away in her sleep at the age of 46 to let us all know how his grieving process has been. Patton paid tribute to his wife two weeks after her death but his post now shows he’s still in a fog. His 762 words will rip through you in a way you can’t help but relate to, a loss that continues to tear him apart as he continues to make sense of his new normal.
He starts with a sarcastic, “Thanks, grief,” and you know it’s going to be the kind of post to which you’ll either half-smile knowingly or sympathetically. And then Oswalt’s off, describing his insurmountable grief in a number of ways, trying to put into words what it’s like to lose the love of your life suddenly and without warning.
It’s not all sad, though. There are rays of hope as Oswalt praises the friends and family and fans and complete strangers who have supported him over these last few months, whether physically, emotionally, or socially.
But it’s when Patton talks about what his wife of 11 years left behind, what he misses most about her, and how in their daughter Alice, she left the best of herself, that’s when he really gets you.
This will also leave you gasping for air: “It’s 102 days later and I can confidently say I have reached a point where I’m crawling. Which, objectively, is an improvement. Maybe 102 days later I’ll be walking.” Damn.
Oswalt beautifully and heartwrenchingly articulates just how broken and angry and bitter one can still be after someone is taken away. It’s a brave, raw, vulnerable post that looks at all the complicated emotions that surround death and how a life can so suddenly be taken away. Patton may feel fragile but he has no idea just how much strength he has. It’s a generous thing he’s doing, sharing his feelings to publicly — even though he might not know he’s doing it. All we can do is hope that in his next 102 days and the next 102 days and the next and the next and the next, he eventually finds a light in the darkness.