To mourn the death of a loved one is a painful, intensely private experience. But 30 days after the sudden and unexpected death of Dave Goldberg, Sheryl Sandberg publicly reflected on losing her husband, breaking the silence she held since the accident in Mexico.
In a verbose, heartfelt Facebook post, Sandberg, the tech giant's COO, said that she had never understood the prayer "Let me not die while I am still alive" until her husband's death. "I have lived thirty years in these thirty days," she wrote. "I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser."
Sandberg shared the lessons she learned in the past month as she struggled to come to terms with Goldberg's death. Her hope was that those lessons would help someone else.
While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.
Early in May, Goldberg, the CEO of the Web company SurveyMonkey, died while exercising during a vacation in Mexico. He tripped and fell off a treadmill, sustaining severe head trauma and blood loss, and died immediately.
His death came as a shock to both the people who knew him and those who knew of him. Sandberg kept her silence throughout the 30-day period of Jewish mourning for a spouse, she wrote in her post, but on Tuesday, shared her grief with those who gave her support and advice.
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.
Their relationship was the envy of Silicon Valley & beyond.
Sandberg and Goldberg were known as Silicon Valley's power couple. He was a vital character in her book, "Lean In," about women in leadership roles, devoted to fatherhood and a huge supporter of her career. Goldberg encouraged her to take on the challenging executive role at Facebook while their daughter was 6 months old and pushed her to demand a higher salary from founder Mark Zuckerberg on the basis of principle.
Her reflection post only goes to show how profound their relationship was and how, even in death, there are lessons to be learned.
[Cover image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News]