Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and Lean In author, opened up to the world about the grief she's experiencing after losing her husband suddenly while on holiday.
Dave Goldberg was only 47, and Sandberg was blindsided by his death last month. Nonetheless, she found the courage to share a moving and incredibly powerful tribute on her Facebook page:
"I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice," she wrote in the now-viral post. "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. These past 30 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. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.
"I have lived 30 years in these 30 days. I am 30 years sadder. I feel like I am 30 years wiser."
The passage is a beautiful, life-affirming must-read in which Sandberg describes the reality of losing someone you love without relying on platitudes. As means of giving back "some of what others have given me," she describes how others have come to her rescue, leaving her room to mourn. For the first time, the planner and chief organizer allowed others to take over.
Her own mother, particularly, helped to fill the void by filling the space next to her in bed and holding her as she cried herself to sleep.
Sandberg talks about moving forward and how best to support someone dealing with a similar loss.
When it comes to her two children, the prospect of not having her husband at her side (Option A), a friend counselled her that since Option A was no longer available, she should "just kick the shit out of option B."
And knowing Sandberg, she will do just that.
To echo Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's words: "Your ability to find meaning and clarity is deeply inspiring."
That such a visible public personality and a consummate professional exposed her essential vulnerability and humanity is nothing short of awesome.