Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg gets personal in note on mourning husband
Facebook number-two Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband died suddenly last month, said Wednesday in an emotional post that in mourning she had become sadder, and wiser.
“I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser,” she wrote on Facebook.
It was a tragic blow for one of America’s best known business executives, famous for her efforts to encourage women’s empowerment.
David Goldberg, 47, was the chief executive of online polling firm SurveyMonkey. He died suddenly after falling on a treadmill and striking his head at an upscale resort in Mexico.
“I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother,” she writes, “both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain.”
Her own mother, Sandberg added, “has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.”
Her mother, she said, since the death has been “holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep.”
The always-poised executive, who saw herself as the “the older sister, the (chief operating officer), the doer and the planner,” wrote that she has learned to ask for help.
Here are the other thoughts she shared on motherhood, mourning and honoring Goldberg’s memory.
ON BEING A MOTHER
“I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain…She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.”
“For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why — they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in.”
ON THE AMBULANCE RIDE
“Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass.”
“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.”
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