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.