Please read this beautiful post by Sheryl Sandberg about the sudden and tragic passing of her husband David Goldberg. Sandberg is a woman of many accolades: CFO of Facebook, author of bestseller "Lean In," billionaire. And now add to that grieving wife. That she could pen such a heartfelt post at such a terrible time is testament to her inner strength and to the support of so many who have rallied around her. I applaud her courage and honesty, and am stronger and more whole for having taken in her experience.
I also read her words with tears in my eyes, because I too am a spouse. I have not suffered a loss like she has, but I too love a partner and so can imagine the devastation.
Many years ago, I almost did lose Amy. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in her twenties, and while it is the cancer you would pick if you had to pick one (slow growing, not as dangerous as other forms), it is nonetheless cancer and required significant treatment.
I recall telling a mentor of mine, who I knew only in a professional way and not really in a personal way. He immediately and without hesitation placed his hand on my shoulder and replied, "Well, I hope she beats the crap out of that cancer." It was a startlingly vivid and serious statement, and I appreciated greatly the sentiment.
Indeed, Amy did in fact beat the crap out of that cancer. And we have gone on to add three beautiful children into our family, and we have had many good days and hope to grow old together. My heart seizes up at the thought that I could have lost it all way back when, and I recall fondly the words of support from my mentor and the authenticity and camaraderie contained in them.
Sandberg's post concludes with an anecdote about making arrangements with a friend to fill in on a father-child activity in her husband's absence. She laments having to do this: "But I want Dave. I want option A." To which her friend replies, "Option A is not available. So let's just kick the shit out of option B."
Whether our loved one has beaten the crap out of whatever could've taken them from us, or we have suffered the plight of now only having option B available to us, let us go forward together and do as Sheryl Sandberg states she is doing at the beginning of her post, which is to choose life and meaning.