Now Playing

Sheryl Sandberg Just Wrote the Foreword to Her Next Book

 And it's characteristically brilliant.

 Sandberg and late husband Dave Goldberg.

 

Since the death of her husband Dave Goldberg 30 days ago in an accident while they were on vacation in Mexico, Sheryl Sandberg has, understandably, been reluctant to share her emotions in public. The memorial service was closed to the press, for instance. But this morning on Facebook, she penned a raw, unvarnished account of the emotional journey that she’s been on in the last month.

“I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser,” writes Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and the author of the mega-best-seller Lean In.

The full text of the open letter, which you can read here, is tough reading—but worth it. In it, Sandberg shares some of the conclusions that she has learned in grappling with Goldberg’s death—and the lessons are broadly applicable.

“I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony,” she writes.

Sandberg went on to write that the experience had changed the way that she relates to others in difficult circumstances. “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 [...] Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.”

She also says that her husband’s death has forced her to do a little less leaning in and a little more leaning on. “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.”

Sandberg is clear that the time after her husband’s death has not been easy for her. “I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.”

In the end, writes Sandberg, she’s doing the only thing she can—moving forward. “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.’” 

 

Have feedback? Email us at letterssf@sanfranmag.com
Email Scott Lucas at slucas@modernluxury.com
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Scott Lucas on Twitter @ScottLucas86