On April 21st, 2016, Michelle McNamara, crime writer and wife of Patton Oswalt, passed away in her sleep.
It was an absolutely tragic event, obviously, made worse by the face that Michelle and Patton had a seven-year-old daughter, and also because Patton has been so painfully and beautifully honest about it.
At the time, no cause of death was given, but Patton’s publicist did say that her passing was “a complete shock to her family and friends, who loved her dearly.”
A few months later in October, we still hadn’t heard what caused Michelle’s death, but Patton did say that “I have a feeling it might have been an overdose.”
At least, he added, “That’s what the paramedics there were saying while I was screaming and throwing up.”
But now, nearly a year later, we’re finally hearing what actually happening.
And, sad though it is, he was right. Partially, anyway.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Patton revealed that “We learned today the combination of drugs in Michelle’s system, along with a condition we were unaware of, proved lethal.”
The condition was an undiagnosed heart problem that “caused blockages in her arteries.”
The drugs that were found in her system were Adderall, Xanax, and Fentanyl, an opioid used to treat especially severe pain.
There was no reason given for why Michelle was on Fentanyl, a drug that’s known to be 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Oddly enough, the coroner told the AP that her cause of death is still officially listed as pending.
We can only hope that this knowledge provides a little bit of closure for Patton, who once said of Michelle’s death that “She hasn’t left a void. She’s left a blast crater.”
Of his grief, he’s written that “Depression is the tallest kid in the 4th grade, dinging rubber bands off the back of your bead and feeling safe on the playground, knowing that no teacher is coming to help you.”
“But grief? Grief is Jason Statham holding that 4th grade bully’s head in a toilet and then f-cking the teacher you’ve got a crush on in front of the class.”
“Grief,” he added, “makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick.”
About raising their daughter by himself, he wrote. “I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t do it.”
“I want to turn out the world and hide under the covers and never leave my house again and send our daughter, Alice, off to lie with her cousins in Chicago, because they won’t screw her up the way I know I will.”
But he also wrote “I’m moving forward — clumsily, stupidly, blindly — because of the kind of person Alice is.”
“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 here’s hoping that, even now, Patton is still able to move forward.