Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, was on vacation in Mexico with friends and family almost two years ago when tragedy struck – her husband, Survey-Monkey CEO, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly of a cardiac arrhythmia.
To chronicle her journey as a widow, Sandberg has written the book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy in hopes that it will help others who are navigating the loss of a spouse.
The 47-year-old wrote: “It just kind of crumbled in every area. I didn’t think I could be a good friend. I didn’t feel like I could do my job. It reminded me of how one day in my neighborhood I watched a house that had taken years to build get torn down in a matter of minutes. Boom. Flattened.”
That sounds absolutely devastating. One minute the pair seemed to have it all. Successful careers, enough money to raise their children comfortably, and good health.
It must have been a shock, therefore, when Sandberg, her brother-in-law and his wife, found Dave lying in a pool of his own blood on May 1, 2015.
Family friend, Phil Deutch, describes the harrowing moment saying: “The wails of her crying in that hospital were unlike anything that I’d ever heard in my life. It was an awful, awful scene.”
By all accounts, it sounds like Sandberg, like any wife, really struggled with what was happening. Her brother-in-law, Rob, explained that, as they left his brother’s body, she ran back to give him one last hug and had to be gently pulled away. She just didn’t want to let go… and who would?
Today, with the blessing and encouragement of her in-laws, Sandberg is dating Activision Blizzard CEO, Robert (Bobby) Kotick. She says that she still feels her loss every single day but is trying to move on. In her own words, she said (in reference to the title of her book): “…I want Dave. I want option A. Option A is not available… So let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.”
The idea of losing our significant other is terrifying (debilitating, in some ways, really) but Sandberg is a great example that life can continue on the other side of grief. It’s not an easy path but, hopefully, her openness about her struggles will help others as they try to heal.