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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 June 19, 2019

        6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

        6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

        I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

        Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

        It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

        1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

        It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

        Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

        When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

        2. Trust the Muse

        Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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        When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

        “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

        The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

        If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

        The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

        Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

        3. Remember to Be Authentic

        Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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        How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

        For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

        One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

        Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

        Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

        4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

        I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

        One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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        Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

        A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

        Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

        5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

        It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

        We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

        If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

        You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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        6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

        As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

        The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

        Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

        Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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