Back in April, Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46.
Oswalt has openly mourned his wife in ways that have brought comfort to countless others who have experienced loss, and his latest message to fans is a candid and heartbreaking piece published by GQ that addresses the challenges Oswalt finds himself coping with as a newly single parent.
Oswalt is father to a 7-year-old girl named Alice, and he admits in the piece that he often feels ill-equipped to handle the demands of raising a child on his own.
“I was half of an amazing parenting team, except we weren’t equals,” the 47-year-old comic writes.
“But we weren’t equals. Michelle was the point person, researcher, planner, and expediter.
“I was the grunt, office assistant, instruction follower, and urban Sherpa.”
Oswalt explains that while his wife was adept at using his “OCD to our little family’s advantage,” she was ultimately the planner, the organizer and the oil that made the machine of his family run smoothly.
He writes that the pain of her loss is compounded by the difficulty of maintaining a stable home environment in the wake of a seismic tragedy:
“I was looking forward to spending my life with the single most original mind I’d ever encountered. And now? Gone. All gone.
“It feels like a walk-on character is being asked to carry an epic film after the star has been wiped from the screen.”
“I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I want to tune out the world and hide under the covers and never leave my house again and send our daughter, Alice, off to live with her cousins in Chicago, because they won’t screw her up the way I know I will.
“Somebody help me! I can’t. I can’t. I can’t,”
But it’s in those moments that Oswalt says he remembers he felt a similar fear when he first married McNamara, and again when he became a father.
In the end, he concludes that the memory of his wife, and his love for his young daughter will be more than enough to sustain him through the many challenges that lie ahead:
“I’m moving forward—clumsily, stupidly, blindly—because of the kind of person Alice is,” he writes.
“She’s got so much of Michelle in her. And Michelle was living her life moving forward. And she took me forward with her. Just like I know Alice will. So I’m going to keep moving forward.
“So I can be there with you if you need me, Alice.”
You can read the entire piece by Oswalt at GQ.