Patton Oswalt opens up about witnessing and recovering from his wife Michelle McNamara’s untimely death in a heart-wrenching profile in The New York Times. McNamara died unexpectedly in her sleep on April 22 at only 46 years old.
The comedian says his wife, a crime writer, believed she was on the verge of discovering the identity of a serial killer she’d been tracking for years when the case began taking a toll on her. Oswalt suggested she take a night to sleep in. She took Xanax, which he believes might’ve been the reason she died (a cause of death has not yet been determined).
After checking on her earlier that April morning ― he says she was snoring when he put a cup of coffee by her bedside table around 10 a.m. ― Oswalt found her unresponsive at 12:42 p.m.
“I have a feeling it might have been an overdose,” the 47-year-old said. “That’s what the paramedics there were saying while I was screaming and throwing up.”
According to Oswalt’s brother, Matt, who has been spending a lot of time with Patton, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter Alice has helped her father tremendously. Each night, the two write down memories of McNamara together.
“She has probably helped Patton as much as Patton helped her,” Matt said. “I saw him the first time he saw Alice after Michelle died, and the color just came back into his face.”
In the Times profile, Oswalt is open about the sadness, grief and depression that’s plagued him since losing McNamara. Though he tried drinking away the pain for a few months, the comedian said that “alcohol doesn’t really help.” Instead, he’s returned to standup to deal with his loss. He tells the Times that talking about grief makes up at least half of his set.
“I’ll never be at 100 percent again, but that won’t stop me from living this,” the comedian said.
“The reaction to her passing, the people who are shocked at her senseless absence, is a testament to how she steered her life with joyous, wicked curiosity,” he wrote. “Her family is devastated but can’t help remember all of the times she made them laugh or comforted them, and they smile and laugh themselves. She hasn’t left a void. She’s left a blast crater.”
To read the rest of Oswalt’s interview with the NYT, head here.