Patton Oswalt Recalls 2016 Emmys Win After Heartbreak of Wife's Death: My Life Is 'Pure Gold' Now

What a difference two years has made for comedian Patton Oswalt

70th Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

What a difference two years has made for Patton Oswalt.

The comedian, 49, looked back on how his life has changed after Monday’s 2018 Emmy Awards, sharing touching side-by-side photos on Twitter.

One photo showed Oswalt after the 2016 Emmys, sitting alone with his trophy outside of an Arby’s.

Though he won his first Emmy that year — an outstanding writing for a variety special honor given to him in celebration of his Netflix special, Talking for Clapping — the star had a sullen expression on his face. The awards show followed not long after his late wife, crime writer Michelle McNamara, had died unexpectedly in her sleep in April 2016 at age 46.

Oswalt’s second photo was far more joyful. Sitting outside of the same Arby’s, he was lacking the Emmy — having lost at Monday’s show in the same category, where he was nominated for his Netflix special, Annihilation. But his wife Meredith Salenger sat beside him, locking lips with the star in the picture.

“Two years ago versus today,” Oswalt captioned the images. “No Emmy this time, but a life that’s turned pure gold thanks to @MeredthSalenger.”

Missing from the photo was Oswalt’s daughter Alice Rigney, 9 — his only child with McNamara. She was instrumental in helping Oswalt through his grief after McNamara’s passing.

“If I hadn’t had a daughter and my wife died, we wouldn’t be talking right now. I’m not saying I would be dead, but I would be a shut-in alcoholic,” he revealed in a 2017 interview with Playboy. “Everything would have shut down. I wouldn’t have been about anything. But with Alice, it was and is ‘You got to get up.’ ”

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Both Alice and McNamara got a shout-out in Oswalt’s 2016 Emmy’s speech. “I want to share this with two people,” he said. “One of them is my daughter Alice, waiting at home. The other one is… waiting somewhere else, I hope.”

Oswalt tied the knot with Salenger, 48, in November 2017, four months after their engagement. The duo had gone public with their romance that June.

“I’ve only ever felt that level of joy once before in my life, and it was so profound and perfect it felt greedy to ever wish for it again,” Oswalt told PEOPLE exclusively following the couple’s nuptials.

He added, “But I did, so now all I can do is show Meredith a level of gratitude and love that’s greater than the joy she’s brought me, and my daughter Alice. Because this is a new level of joy, and a new life, and I’ll always strive to deserve it.”

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