When Patton Oswalt suddenly lost his wife Michelle McNamara in 2016, his grieving process was so open and so raw, the world couldn’t help but grieve with him. Over the last 18 months, Patton has publicly processed the passing of McNamara through a wide variety of mediums — from taking down Twitter trolls, to essays, and even jokes — but it took Meredith Salenger to finally close the wound. At least somewhat. His honest discourse about losing his wife and becoming a single father has been both heartbreaking and inspiring. It’s rallied those who’ve experienced loss and educated those who haven’t.
To mark the first anniversary of her death, Oswalt wrote a touching Facebook post about how he finally would remove his wedding ring and move on. Just seven months later, he’d be remarried and clearly exuberant:
“I couldn’t bear removing it since April 21st, 2016. But now it felt obscene. That anonymous poem about the man mourning his dead lover for a year and a day, for craving a kiss from her ‘clay cold lips.’ I was inviting more darkness. Removing the ring was removing the last symbol of denial of who I was now, and what my life is, and what my responsibilities are. It’s awful, but it’s not fatal.”
Oswalt and Salenger reportedly met through mutual friend Martha Plimpton and were first publicly seen as a couple in June at the Baby Driver premiere last June. Now they’re together forever, raising Oswalt’s 8-year-old daughter and “Champion Flower Girl” Alice.