Thirty days after losing her husband, Sheryl Sandberg has opened up on Facebook with a message that's at once heartbreaking and utterly life-affirming.
The Lean In author and Facebook COO lost her husband to an exercise accident in May. On Wednesday, in honor of ending sheloshim (the Jewish tradition of first 30 days of mourning), she reflects on Facebook, "I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser."
Anyone who's ever lost a loved one will be familiar with the "void" Sandberg writes of, that unfathomable period in which "the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe."
But Sandberg beautifully shifts to focus on what comes next. Coping with such a devastating loss, she writes, has led her to examine things many of us never consider deeply on a daily basis — how to be better parents, how to talk to people in need, how to ask for help and support, how to face the ephemeral nature of our lives.
And the most important takeaway: "I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice," Sandberg writes, and her choice is to take all she's learned in the past 30 days and use it:
I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up 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."
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.
Turning loss into an empowering moment to take on whatever comes next? We should all be so inspired to kick the shit out of life like that.
h/t Huffington Post
Correction: June 3, 2015
An earlier version of this article misidentified Sheryl Sandberg's position at Facebook. She is the COO, not CEO.