Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, marked the “sheloshim” of her husband’s death with an emotional post on the social media site.
“Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband — the first thirty days,” Sandberg wrote about her husband Dave, the CEO of SurveyMonkey, who died of a head injury in Mexico. “Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.
“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.”
Sandberg went on to detail the lessons she learned in the month since Dave’s death including resilience and empathy. In particular, she noted it deepened her view on motherhood. “I gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain,” she writes. She acknowledged learning to ask for help, adding “until now I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner.”
Sandberg ended her post:
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.”
Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A.
Sarah Breger is the editor of the Sisterhood blog. She can be reached at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @sbreger.