Just one month after the sudden passing of her husband, Dave Goldberg, Sheryl Sandberg has opened up about her first month without him in a heartbreaking, yet inspiring Facebook post about how she's coping.
“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning,” the Facebook chief operating officer and author of Lean In wrote today. Goldberg, the chief executive of SurveyMonkey, passed away suddenly from a severe head trauma while on vacation last month.
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“These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well,” she continued. “But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning. “
The timing of the post marks the end of Goldberg’s sheloshim, a 30-day mourning period in Judaism, which Sandberg explains has been a great period of growth (and sorrow) in her life.
“I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer,” she wrote. “Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.”
Another thing she says she's learned: gratitude. "Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted."
Sandberg also touched on her transition back to work, which she credits as “a chance to feel useful and connected.” And she's made an effort to let her co-workers in, however difficult being "open" and "vulnerable" during this time might be. "A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in."
Read Sandberg’s full essay below. It's one of the best things you'll read about love and loss.