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Six months after Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly at the age 47, Sandberg appeared on the Today to reveal why she chose to open up publicly about her grief on the social media site — and how that experience has helped her.
She began by speaking about the loneliness of experiencing a tragic and sudden loss, noting that it’s “a horrible thing to live through — and it’s also a pretty isolating thing to live through, as you try to rebuild. As I went back to work, no one quite knows what to say and everyone looks at you like a deer in the headlights.”
Four days after her Goldberg’s death, Sandberg posted a moving tribute to her late husband, but speaking to Savannah Guthrie on Today, she focused on another post she penned 30 days later in which she called in her own experience to offer grieving guidance in a more universal sense.
“I wrote this post and I wasn’t quite sure if I was gonna send it, but yeah, I hit send on the 30 day anniversary of his death which has meaning in the Jewish religion,” Sandberg said. “And I shared. I shared how to talk to me and what I was feeling.”
The sharing helped, she said; suddenly the “deer-in-the-headlights” looks changed to something more meaningful to her. “It changed a lot. People knew what to say. People started talking to me more openly.”
Sandberg also spoke to the value of Facebook in helping her connect to a much wider audience, allowing her to open her experience up even to strangers and the very human experience of grief.
“I’m not the only one who experienced loss this year and in previous years,” Sandberg acknowledged, adding “I felt part of that global community. … I always loved Facebook’s mission, but now I feel even closer to it I think in a much deeper and more profound way.
“You feel not alone because no matter how tragic or devastating, there are many people in the world who have experienced that,” Sandberg said finally. “And there’s something so universal about the ability to share and connect and say to someone else, ‘it gets better.’ “
Watch the full interview below.
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