Sheryl Sandberg on husband's death: 'I have lived 30 years in these 30 days'

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, has written an emotional post on the social networking site about mourning for her husband, David Goldberg, who died in an accident last month.

“Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days,” Sandberg wrote. “Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.

“A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: ‘Let me not die while I am still alive.’ I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.”

Sandberg explained that she has spent the past month “lost in a void”, but said she wants to “try and find meaning” in the tragedy that has occurred. “I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to 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. 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.

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

Goldberg, 47, was CEO of SurveyMonkey, a commercial service for conducting online polls. He slipped while exercising on a treadmill during a family vacation at a villa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and died as a result of striking his head.

Hundreds of Silicon Valley’s most prominent executives attended a memorial service for Goldberg last month, including Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive, Meg Whitman, LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, prominent tech investor Reid Hoffman, Yelp chief executive, Jeremy Stoppelman, and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

Barack Obama also extended his sympathies to Sandberg and in a signed post on the White House Facebook page said: “His [Goldberg’s] skills as an entrepreneur created opportunity for many; his love for his family was a joy to behold, and his example as a husband and father was something we could all learn from.”

Thanking friends and family for their support, Sandberg ended her post:

I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.

I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

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.

Powered by article was written by Nadia Khomami, for The Guardian on Wednesday 3rd June 2015 17.43 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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