One month ago, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, author of the bestselling book Lean In, and the woman behind the “Ban Bossy” campaign, lost her husband, Dave Goldberg. He died suddenly while they were vacationing in Mexico. The eulogy she posted on Facebook a few days later was a stirring tribute to a partnership that was both completely equal, and also deeply passionate. (Two things that some “experts” claim don’t co-exist easily in marriage.)
Today marks the end of sheloshim for Sandberg’s husband — the first thirty days of mourning. In Judaism, family and friends “sit shiva” for a loved one for seven days after the burial, and after that most normal activities resume, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse. Sandberg chose this occasion to write again about her marriage on Facebook — about what it means to mourn, and what it means to attempt to move forward.
The result is a gorgeously heartbreaking piece of writing on love and loss. She says, “I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.” And this post, detailing how Sandberg has leaned on friends, family, and, yes, work, is intentionally public. Sandberg writes:
While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.
But it is her closing message that is truly inspiring:
I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”
Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.
If you can make it through the entire post with dry eyes, then we suspect you of having a heart of stone. But dry eyes or no, we hope it will remind you to lean in to a loved one, and appreciate the option A of your life, whoever that may be.