Sheryl Sandberg pours her heart out to friends on Facebook as she tries to deal with her grief

As those who have lost a loved one can testify, the grieving process is by far the worst emotional rollercoaster ride of anyone’s life.

And no one knows better than Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, after she lost her husband following a tragic accident on May 1.

SurveyMonkey’s Chief Executive suddenly died after falling off a treadmill while on holiday in Mexico.

In a touching tribute to her late husband, Dave Goldberg, who left behind a loving family, Sheryl took to her Facebook account to share with the world her own personal experience in dealing with grief.

The inspiring businesswoman, who is Jewish, has spent the past 30 days mourning her husband as part of the religious period called sheloshim.

In one passage Sheryl writes: ‘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. 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. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.’

She went on to add: ‘And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me.

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

Sheryl, who has had her emotional post liked by almost 1 million people including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, wrote: ‘I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.’

She talks about how grateful she is to her mother for being by her side – and sharing her bed – as she comes to terms with her loss.

‘I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.’

She finishes by describing some wise words of advice from a friend. When talking about a dad activity that her husband is no longer here to do and she writes about how they came 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.”’

And she ends her touching open letter by saying; ‘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.’

You can read Sheryl’s moving post in full here
Lucretia Munro