Patton Oswalt responded Monday to social-media criticism of his becoming engaged not quite 15 months after his wife’s death by linking to a post by blogger Erica Roman, who was widowed at age 27.
“This is so amazing,” the actor-comedian, 48, wrote on Facebook. “And SO well-written. I expected some bitter grub worms to weigh in (anonymously, always always always) with their much-needed opinions when I announced my engagement last week. And I decided to ignore them. But yeah, I felt this rage,” he said. “And Erica articulated it better than I could have ever hoped. So there you go. Thank you, Erica.”
Roman — whose husband of seven years died of an undetected heart condition in April 2016, and who learned days after the funeral that she was pregnant with their second child — wrote how happy she was for Oswalt. But as she began to read critical comments about the engagement, “My happiness for him quickly shifted to indignant anger on his behalf. . . . Comment after comment poured out judgement and disdain. It made me sick.”
Addressing “ignorant, judgmental” critics, she wrote, “You aren’t entitled to an opinion. You don’t get to comment on the choices of a widower while you sit happily next to your own living spouse. . . . Who gave you the position to judge when it’s ‘too soon’ for a person who has suffered the worst to be able to find happiness and companionship again? Its been 15 months! How long should a widow sit in isolation before YOU are comfortable enough to release them from their solitary confinement?”
She added, “The person who comes after cannot and will not replace the one we lost. . . . Just like my love for my daughter was not diminished by the birth of my son, so too, the love widows can have for someone new does not diminish the love of the one lost.”
Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, died suddenly in her sleep on April 21, 2016, at age 46, leaving behind the couple’s now 8-year-old daughter, Alice.
Oswalt’s fiancee, actress Meredith Salenger, 47, tweeted, “Everyone has been so lovely to us . . . all of Patton’s family . . . ALL of Michelle’s siblings and friends and family . . . a few trolls have strong opinions. But I think for Patton, having met and found love after over a year of intense therapy and openly grieving and dealing with his pain . . . I am grateful to be the one who helps him climb out of the depths of grief and find some joy again. . . . I am deeply in love with both Patton and Alice and very much looking forward to a beautiful happy life and having adventures together.”