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Comedian Frankly Describes The Grief He’s Undergoing After Losing His Wife Suddenly

Comedian Frankly Describes The Grief He’s Undergoing After Losing His Wife Suddenly

When Patton Oswalt was born in 1969, his parents were unaware of what a fabulous boy they had brought into this world. We can only imagine the entertainment that went on during family meals as he grew up. As an adult, the world grew to love the man behind the smile and quirky facial expressions. As an actor, Oswalt’s ability to slide into characters such as the voice of Remy in the movie ‘Ratatouille’ or the hilarious role of Spence on ‘The King of Queens’ appeared to be flawless.

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Spence on King of Queens
                                                                                                                    (Photo courtesy: screenused.com)

    His personal life also appeared flawless as he married his love Michelle McNamara in the year 2005. In 2009 the couple were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Alice. Just a short time later, Oswalt would feel the world he built crumbling down around him. In April of 2016, Patton Oswalt lost his wonderfully talented wife as death took her from the family that she adored.

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    Patton and Daughter

      How Hard It Is To Lose A Loved One…

      Depression and heartache do not discriminate. Emotions do not care if you are the President of a large country or a single mother working two jobs to keep food on the table. These same emotions do not care what color your skin is, and they do not care how large your bank account may be. Smiles, jokes, and laughter are coping mechanisms that many people display to the world as a way to hide from the pain. They will slide on the comedy persona to not only keep their emotions pushed to the side, but to also to keep others from finding out what these emotions are. This is a sad reality for anyone who has lived under a dark blanket for any length of time, but for those who live under constant appraisal of the public, it appears even darker, and many never find a way to free those emotions, to find just a fragment of light.

      Embrace Despair

      When tragedy strikes and that dark blanket starts to feel as though it may suffocate us, we need social support. Simply put: people need people. We need others to cling to, to drag us out of our dark corners, and we need people to put up with our emotional vomit, and we need them to still like us when we are done. In a very well thought out post that Oswalt bravely shared with his fans on Facebook, he makes this point clear when he states:

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      “You will have been shown new levels of humanity and grace and intelligence by your family and friends. They will show up for you, physically and emotionally, in ways which make you take careful note, and say to yourself, “Make sure to try to do that for someone else someday.” Complete strangers will send you genuinely touching messages on Facebook and Twitter, or will somehow figure out your address to send you letters which you’ll keep and re-read ’cause you can’t believe how helpful they are. And, if you’re a parent? You’ll wish you were your kid’s age, because the way they embrace despair and joy are at a purer level that you’re going to have to reconnect with, to reach backwards through years of calcified cynicism and ironic detachment” (Oswalt, 2016 Thanks, grief.

      Stages of Grief

      In 1969 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined the stages of grief, and this outline has become universally accepted as the normal human approach to loss. We do not all progress through these stages in order, but eventually, if we allow ourselves to go through the grieving process, we do seem to go through them at some point in time. The stages include denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance (Axelrod, J. (2016). The 5 Stages of Loss & Grief. Psych Central.

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      Through his very open and courageous Facebook post, we see that Oswalt is progressing through the stages of grief, and this may be due to his own resilience and/or with the help of his social support. He states that:

       “102 days into this. I was face-down and frozen for weeks. It’s 102 days later and I can confidently say I have reached a point where I’m crawling. Which, objectively, is an improvement. Maybe 102 days later…I’ll be walking” (Oswalt, 2016).

      Wife and Patton
                                                                                                                           (Photo courtesy: News.com.au)

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        Last Updated on February 21, 2019

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

        Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

        Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

        Conflicts are literally everywhere.

        Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

        Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

        Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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        Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

        Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

        Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

        The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

        Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

        Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

        How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

        Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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        Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

        Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

        How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

        Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

        Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

        Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

        How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

        Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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        Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

        Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

        How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

        Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

        Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

        Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

        How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

        Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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        Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

        Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

        How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

        Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

        Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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