Thursday, October 27, 2016

Patton Oswalt Talks Loss

Warning: You'll probably need tissues with this post. Patton Oswalt, who lost his wife Michelle McNamara earlier this year, recently sat down for an interview with the New York Times. Here is an excerpt from the article on Michelle's cause of death:

Worried about her health, her husband, the comedian Patton Oswalt, suggested that she take a night to “sleep until you wake up.” It was a phrase they used to describe what could seem like an impossible luxury for the working parents of a 7-year-old girl. So on April 21, Ms. McNamara took some Xanax and went to bed.

After getting up early, he helped his daughter, Alice, get dressed, packed her lunch and drove her to school, then picked up a cup of his wife’s favorite coffee. Back home, he went to their bedroom, where she was snoring. He gently placed the Americano on a bedside table. It was 9:40 a.m.

Mr. Oswalt went to his home office, answered emails, did two phone interviews and noticed some sad news online: Prince had died. He shot off a series of tweets and returned to his bedroom to find his wife still in bed. She wasn’t breathing. It was 12:42 p.m. When the paramedics arrived, they pronounced her dead.

Patton, on the coroners still not declaring a cause of death six months later:

“I have a feeling it might have been an overdose. That’s what the paramedics there were saying while I was screaming and throwing up.”

On the worst day of his life:
“The worst is when I told my daughter the next day.”

On how comic books portray death:
“If Bruce Wayne watched his parents murdered at 9, he wouldn’t become this cut hero. He would become Gotham’s most annoying slam poet. How about someone dies, and they just get fat and angry and confused? But no, immediately, they’re at the gym.”

On coping with grief:
“I found out the hard way these past few months that alcohol really doesn’t help.”

On depression vs grief:
“Depression is more seductive. Its tool is: ‘Wouldn’t it be way more comfortable to stay inside and not deal with people?’ Grief is an attack on life. It’s not a seducer. It’s an ambush or worse. It stands right out there and says: ‘The minute you try something, I’m waiting for you.’”

On how Michelle shaped his comedy career:
“Before I met her, I was in a snotty, sort of slacker Largo scene. A lot of my stuff was making fun of abstract pop culture in a way that was removed emotionally. When you get to ‘Werewolves and Lollipops,’ we’re on the way to getting married, I’m way more vulnerable. I’m not always articulate in what I’m saying. And maybe I have some problems, too. You see that progression, and that’s all because of her. She said to me: ‘Be honest and vulnerable about yourself.’”

On working to finish his late wife's book:
“We can finish the book, but it was tangential to the work, which was: She was going to solve this crime. She didn’t want credit for it. She wanted him to be locked up. She was close to figuring it out. It would give her bad nightmares. In comic-book terms,” he said. “I was married to a great crime fighter.”

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