Just days after Patton Oswalt tied the knot with actress Meredith Salenger on Saturday, Nov. 4, the comedian is speaking out about why he remarried 18 months after his first wife’s sudden death. “It feels like an evolution. After the darkness, I went through all the ways I had to strengthen myself to try to recognize joy again. Meredith was a beacon I had to reach for,” Patton, 48, told People.

Patton and Meredith, 47, previously announced their engagement in early July, just 15 months after The King of Queens star lost his wife, Michelle McNamara, in April 2016. The couple previously married in September 2005 and welcomed their daughter, Alice Rigney Oswalt, 8, in April 2009. Michelle sadly passed away in her sleep at age 46 last year from a combination of a previously undiagnosed heart condition and prescription medication. Today, Patton and Meredith believe it was Michelle who helped bring them together from above.

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What’d you guys do yesterday? (Photo @jeffvespa)

A post shared by Patton Oswalt (@balvenieboy) on

“When I first starting talking with Patton on Facebook, it was just sort of witty banter. There was nothing to it, but as I started getting to know him better, I looked up Michelle on Facebook and I saw that we had like 15 mutual friends,” Meredith told People. “One of them was my best friend since 7th grade. I called her and was like, ‘Tell me about Michelle.’ She was best friends with Michelle after college. She was like, ‘I loved her. She’s amazing. She’s so funny and smart.’ When I met Patton and Alice, it just felt so, so right. I never thought I’d get married, but then I fell madly in love.”

Patton admitted Michelle’s family is also very supportive of his union with Meredith. “It just felt like worlds were connecting and everything was okay again. We’re still floating on this other level that we’ve been on since the day we met,” he said. “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. 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.”

patton oswalt wife michelle mcnamara getty images

Patton and his late wife, Michelle, in December 2011.

A few days ago, the couple confirmed via Instagram that they had married. “What’d you guys do yesterday?” Patton captioned a photo of himself, Meredith and his daughter, Alice, walking down the aisle. Meredith captioned the same pic, “True love. True happiness. Forever and always. The Oswalts. Nov. 4, 2017 — Jim Henson Studios — Los Angeles, CA.” In July, Patton and Meredith similarly announced their engagement via Instagram. “It’s official. I’m the luckiest, happiest girl in the universe!?I love you, @PattonOswalt. I love you, Alice Oswalt! #YesYesYes,” Meredith captioned a series of photos showing off her new engagement ring.

One month before Patton proposed, the couple made their red carpet debut at the LA premiere of the actor’s movie Baby Driver. A few days before the event, Meredith shared a sweet snapshot of herself holding Patton’s hand with the caption, “I’m super in love guys. Just FYI.” Since Michelle’s death, the Ratatouille star has been very open about his grieving process on social media. On the one-year anniversary of her passing, Patton said losing his love has been “awful, but not fatal.”

He continued, “Last night, I took off my wedding ring. I couldn’t bear removing it since April 21, 2016, but now it felt obscene. That anonymous poem about the man mourning his dead lover for a year and a day, for craving a kiss from her ‘clay cold lips.’ I was inviting more darkness. Removing the ring was removing the last symbol of denial of who I was now, and what my life is, and what my responsibilities are.”

“I’m not making today any sort of dark ritual or painful memorial. No graveside visit. Those are for when Alice and I have something exciting to say to her. No candle lighting or balloon launching,” Patton continued. “We think of her every day — she’s still so tied into our worlds, in a way that’s encouraging, and energizing. So why light a flame that will die, or release a balloon that will disappear? Michelle’s gone but she wasn’t the kind of soul that disappears or dies out.” Congratulations to Patton and Meredith on their marriage!