By all accounts, Michelle McNamara was a remarkable woman. Perhaps the best example of just how extraordinary she was is her daughter.
McNamara, a writer and founder of the website True Crime Diary, and the wife of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, passed away unexpectedly in her sleep last month at the age of 46. McNamara and Oswalt, who was in "The King of Queens," "Ratatouille," and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," were married in 2005 and have a 7-year-old daughter, Alice. After his wife's passing, Oswalt went mostly incommunicado in public, but then a couple of days ago, he tweeted a quote from Alice:
"When your mom dies you're the best memory of her. Everything you do is a memory of her." — Alice Oswalt, 7
If reading that doesn't break your heart, there's a good chance you might not actually have one. For a child so young to demonstrate such a specific kind of perspective is nothing short of tragic. On the other hand, it's a tribute to her parents, who seem to have had much love between them as well as for their daughter, whom they raised with the understanding that they needed to be the people they wanted her to become.
Whatever there is belongs to my daughter—to our daughter. Alice.
No parent wants to leave their children so soon, although given the subject of McNamara's career, she likely had a firm grasp on how quickly life can change or get taken away. Whether that shaped how she mothered her daughter is unknown, but judging by Alice's presence of mind to know that she'll always carry her mom with her indicates, there was some deep-level mindfulness happening and continues to happen.
There's no parenting road map, and certainly not one when a parent is taken too soon from their young child's life, but there seems to be hope in this case that Oswalt and Alice will, indeed, keep making memories of McNamara as they continue on in their family journey.
"I loved [Michelle]. This is the first time I've been able to use 'I' writing this. Probably because there hasn't been much of an 'I' since the morning of April 21. There probably won't be for a while. Whatever there is belongs to my daughter—to our daughter. Alice."
Of Alice's Twitter quote, he said:
"That's the kind of person Michelle created and helped shape.