Sheryl Sandberg’s Essay: Sheryl Sandberg Writes Emotional Essay A Month After Her Husband Dave Goldberg’s Death

Sheryl Sandberg’s essay about loss and mourning is tugging at the heartstrings of Facebook users.

The Facebook COO and wife of David Goldberg, the former CEO of SurveyMonkey, took to her personal Facebook page to share an emotional essay about the past 30 days since Goldberg died.

Goldberg’s death, which was ruled an accident, occurred on May 1 after he fell off a treadmill at a gym in a Mexico resort while his family was on vacation. He suffered severe head trauma which ultimately led to his death, the New York Daily News reports.

Sandberg admits that Goldberg’s death has taken a major toll on her, both physically and emotionally. Not only did her friends and family members have to tell her when to eat, she says there have been several occasions when she has relied on her mother to rock her to sleep. But now that the Jewish mourning known as sheloshim has come to an end, Sheryl is trying to find a way to accept the things she can’t change and not get stuck in this state of emptiness.

“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.

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.”

Sheryl explained that the generosity and support from those around her, including complete strangers, helped her to cope, and she hopes by sharing her story of grief that she can help others as well.

“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. 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 learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.”

To read Sheryl Sanberg’s essay in full, click here.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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