Around 15 months ago, crime writer Michelle McNamara died in her sleep. She was 46 years old. She was married to comedian Patton Oswalt, and the couple had been raising 7-year-old daughter Alice together. Oswalt suddenly found himself a grief-stricken widower at the age of 48, raising a daughter on his own. By all accounts, he has risen to the challenge with grace, humor, and honesty. Still, it couldn't have been easy. So when news broke this week that Oswalt was engaged to Meredith Salenger, fans who have followed his journey were happy to see the brilliant funny man moving forward.
Oswalt and actress Salenger went public with their relationship last month in Los Angeles when they arrived at the premiere of Baby Driver together. According to People, the newly engaged couple met through a mutual acquaintance, actress Marth Plimpton. Before the two went public, there were hints that the social media-savvy Oswalt might be transitioning into a positive relationship; On May 31, he announced he would be taking a break from Twitter (where he is known for his sharp political wit) because, “Every time you choose love it delays the apocalypse.”
It seems Oswalt has delayed the apocalypse for the foreseeable future.
Although, before fans get too emotional about Oswalt and his fiancée, this is how he announced it on Twitter:
Oswalt has been nothing if not brutally honest about his life after the death of his wife. Five months after McNamara died, he wrote a stunning, heartfelt essay for GQ called The Year Of Magical Parenting and opened up about what his world as a newly single father looked like, and how he struggled to keep on parenting after having been part of "half of an amazing parenting team."
This is my first time being a single father. I've missed forms for school. I've forgotten to stock the fridge with food she likes. I've run out of socks for her. I've run out of socks for me. It sucked and it was a hassle every time, but the world kept turning. I said, “Whoops, my bad,” and fixed it and kept stumbling forward.
Oswalt and Alice, who is now 8 years old, seem to have dealt with their grief as a team of two. Now it seems, they will be a team of three. When Salenger took to Instagram to announce her engagement, she shared a collage of pictures including an adorable shot of her with Alice, and captioned the photos:
It's official. I'm the luckiest happiest girl in the universe!!!!💖 I love you @pattonoswalt! I love you Alice Oswalt! #YesYesYes
Salenger, who was born in California, first starred in the title role of The Journey of Natty Gann in 1985, and has since gone on to act in several television series like Grey's Anatomy, Anger Management, and Damages. But perhaps it is her voice-over work in Star Wars: Clone Wars that really struck a chord with self-proclaimed fanboy Oswalt. Whatever it was that drew them together, those who know them best could barely contain their enthusiasm when they heard the news.
It would be wrong to assume that Salenger has somehow "saved" Oswalt, particularly since he has spent much of the past 15 months making it perfectly clear that he and his daughter were figuring out their new normal themselves. But, as a fan myself, I have to admit it's awfully nice to see him get what appears to be a happy new beginning, for him and his daughter.
After their "year of magical parenting," they both deserve a little extra love in this world.