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On April 21, Patton Oswalt told his wife, Michelle McNamara, to get some sleep after he noticed she was stressed out while researching her book about a serial killer.
The comedian spoke with The New York Times about the details surrounding his wife’s death, in a heartbreakingly honest interview.
Oswalt remembers taking their 7-year-old daughter, Alice, to school the next morning and bringing a coffee home to his wife, who was snoring in their bed. Three hours later — after Oswalt worked, did interviews and found out Prince had died — he checked on McNamara again and saw she wasn’t breathing.
“I was literally blinking trying to get out of this,” he told the Times, saying he felt like he was trying to wake up from what he felt must have been a nightmare.
“I have a feeling it might have been an overdose,” said Oswalt, referring to the Xanax McNamara had taken to go to sleep the night before. “That’s what the paramedics there were saying while I was screaming and throwing up.” The coroner has still not determined the cause of death.
Oswalt spoke about Alice and how they are coping, a subject he has been openly discussing as he shares his grief in the wake of McNamara’s passing. He said Alice referenced Inside Out when she learned about her mom, saying, “I guess Sadness is doing her job right now.” Oswalt said he and Alice sit and write down three things they remember about McNamara every night, to keep a living portrait of her.
“Grief is an attack on life,” said Oswalt, who has been returning to stand-up as a way to cope. He plans to perform his new material on grief at the New York Comedy Festival on Nov. 3. “It’s an ambush or worse. It stands right out there and says: ‘The minute you try something, I’m waiting for you.’ “
He continued, “I’ll never be at 100 percent again, but that won’t stop me from living this.”
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