Sheryl Sandberg’s Public Grief a Gift to All

Facebook executive and author Sheryl Sandberg used her personal facebook account today to speak out about the pain of losing her young husband last month and to thank friends and fans for their support in the aftermath. In a poignant 1,700-word post, Ms. Sandberg also took the opportunity to provide a virtual checklist of lessons about the grief process.

“I have lived thirty years in these thirty days,” she wrote a month after her husband, David Goldberg, died suddenly at the age of 47. “I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.”

At 44, Ms. Sandberg has two young children. Some of the lessons that she hopes to pass to them:

* When a tragedy occurs, there’s often a choice for the bereaved. “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.”

* People say hurtful things to new widows, even when they mean well. She recommends a simple “How are you today?” when inquiring about the well-being of a grieving person.

* Ask for help. “When it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.”

* Resilience can be learned. In her early grief, she has allowed herself to “compartmentalize” at times, focusing on other absorbing activities to take time away from her grief. This has been a good thing, she says. She’s also learned that “I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better.”

She also learned just how much she was connected to her husband. Her facebook post finished with her tribute to him. “There is no end to love. I love you, Dave.”

 

 

o give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through.

 

I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.

Neil Chethik

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Neil Chethik is an author, speaker and expert specializing in men's lives and family issues. He is the author of two acclaimed books: VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment (Simon & Schuster 2006), and FatherLoss: How Sons of All Ages Come To Terms With the Deaths of Their Dads (Hyperion 2001). Previously, Neil was a staff reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat and San Jose Mercury News, and writer of VoiceMale, the first syndicated column on men's personal lives. His writings have appeared in hundreds of print and web publications. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, Ky., where he lives with his wife, Kelly Flood, and son, Evan. Reach Neil at: Neil@NeilChethik.com 121 Arcadia Park Lexington Ky. 40503 859-361-1659 Neil appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley to discuss “Men and Loss.” To hear Neil being interviewed on this show, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley121307.mp3

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