Shelton, a leading voice in the world of independent film and the director of several popular television series, died of a previously unidentified blood disorder. She was 54.
“It’s a terrible experience but it is a fundamental human experience,” Maron, 56, told The New York Times of his grief in an interview published on Friday. “It’s as common as love. It’s devastating, but we are built to carry it, for ourselves and for others.”
The GLOW actor said that though the pair had only been in a romantic relationship for “a year and change,” their time together was “short and sweet.”
“I didn’t know her as well as many people knew her, which is something I found out at memorial events,” said the star, who first connected with Shelton when she appeared as a guest on his podcast. “There are people who have known her for 25 years. Hearing everybody’s experiences with her, working on all these films, I’m like, what stories do I have? But I realized we had a unique frequency to our connection.”
“We saw ourselves through each other’s eyes. I was really the best version of me, the way she saw me,” he added.
Maron also opened up about Shelton’s final days, sharing that she had a high fever and swollen glands in her throat. She made an appointment to see a doctor, but Maron woke up to her collapsed before she made it to the doctor.
Fred Hayes/Getty Images Lynn Shelton
“I called the ambulance and she was dead within 18 hours,” he said, adding that her ultimate causes of death were organ failure and acute myeloid leukemia.
“I went [to the hospital] that night and spent a few minutes with her body. It was the heaviest thing I’ve ever done,” Maron said. “It was just devastating. I was blown out, totally traumatized. Totally heartbroken.”
Shelton wrote and directed eight feature films, including Your Sister's Sister and Sword of Trust, which Maron starred in 2019.
Shelton also has credits on some of the most popular television shows, including the recent Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, Mad Men, The Mindy Project, Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl, and GLOW.
On Tuesday, she received a posthumous Emmy directing nomination for Little Fires Everywhere.
Maron said that grieving during the coronavirus pandemic has allowed him “to process and sit with the feelings.”
“I cry every day,” he shared. “The shock and the trauma have dissipated a little bit, so now I deal with the loss. I have her jacket that she always wore, and her hat and boots. I have the shirt that I met her in. I touch these things when I can and try to keep her with me.”
Maron added, “In terms of really experiencing the feelings that one has with grief and loss, I’ve had the presence to be in those. Because I have nothing else to do, man.”