Patton Oswalt shares a moving tribute on the day his late wife's new book is published.

Nearly two years after her tragic death, author Michelle McNamara's final book was published today.

To much of the world, McNamara is best-known as the late wife of Patton Oswalt. But she had her own outstanding career as a nonfiction writer long before they met.

At the time of her death, McNamara was working on an investigative book about the Golden State killer. That book, "I'll Be Gone In The Dark," was finally published on Tuesday. Oswalt, who wrote the book's afterword, was instrumental in helping guide it to completion. Though McNamara had finished much of it before passing away in her sleep, Oswalt leaned on friends and colleagues to bring it home. "It was her book and it’s an amazing book," he said. "I wanted to do right by her."


Oswalt posted a picture to his Twitter account of him laying the book at McNamara's grave, with the note: "You did it, baby. The book is excellent, the writing brilliant. You tried to bring kindness to chaos, which was your way."

The book quickly shot to the top spot in Amazon's memoir section.

Oswalt has gone through a very public grieving process over the death of his late wife. But today, he's celebrating her work

Ever since losing McNamara, Oswalt has been very public about the toll her shocking death has had on him and his young daughter. Rather than putting a happy face on the tragedy, he was open about his perfectly natural, drawn-out grieving process. Being a comedian, Oswalt worked several jokes about his imperfect recovery process into his latest Netflix special that blended comedy with the agonizing pain of loss.

Slowly but surely, Oswalt has found his way to happiness, marrying actress Meredith Salenger last year. He obviously hasn't forgotten Michelle though, using his public platform to celebrate her life and her work. Fans shared an outpouring of support across Twitter, just as they have through each stage of Oswalt's grieving process.

After bravely sharing his grief and slow recovery, Oswalt is now showing us how to remember.

By letting the world into his painful grieving process, Oswalt revealed a level of vulnerability and real human strength that we are rarely see from public figures.

As he carries on in the next stages of his life, Oswalt is now showing the world how to continue living while still honoring the memory and legacy of those we've loved and lost.

McNamara brought him years of great happiness and he's using his celebrity to share her talents with the public. "It was a total commitment. … He's just been a real champion," said HarperCollins editor Jennifer Barth.

Everyone faces death and loss — but it's up to us to choose how we respond. Great mentors like Oswalt help show the way.

We all face death in the loss of others and ultimately in ourselves. Yet even as arguably life's only true certainty, we still often struggle to process the inevitable. Being open about the painful cost of losing a loved one can be an invaluable resource to those who are going through a similar experience and to those who may face it down the road.  

Patton Oswalt and those who were close to McNamara are also showing us that there can be positive ways to celebrate those we have lost and to keep their memories alive for years to come.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less