Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks on life after loss: ‘Ask me how I am today’

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg joined author Cheryl Strayed at The Moore Theatre Tuesday to discuss her book, “Option B,” about grief and loss.

There’s a scene in Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Option B,” in which she describes her young children watching as their father is buried.

“The kids fell to the ground,” Sandberg recalled Tuesday night during an on-stage interview with “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed at The Moore Theater.

“So I started singing,” Sandberg remembered. “I was doing anything I could to comfort them. I just had to be in it with them.”

Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died in May 2015 after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia and collapsing on a treadmill while on vacation with her in Mexico. At the time, their two children were 7 and 11.

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Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, reached out to her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist, for help.

“I had children,” she said. “I had no choice. I was so  worried that my childrens’ lives would be changed.”

She sought Grant’s counsel “knowing there was something I might be able to do to get through.”

That something would eventually lead her to write “Option B,” Sandberg’s second best-selling book behind her 2013 hit, “Lean In.”

Where “Lean In” covered women and workplace issues, “Option B” is seemingly heart- and homebound, focused on learning how to care, carry on, heal and rebuild after a loss.

Sandberg and Grant are traveling together to talk about the book with audiences, and in Seattle, they visited woman-run workspace, The Riveter, as well as the Amazon campus. The Moore event was sold-out, 95 percent women of all ages.

Sandberg asked the audience if anyone had experienced post-traumatic stress. Most hands went up. Then she asked if anyone had experienced “post-traumatic growth.”

Very few raised their hands. So Sandberg explained: “You will not thrive despite losses, but because of them.”

So what helped her heal? For starters, she journaled.

“Writing was healing,” she said. At one point, she didn’t journal for a couple of days, “And I thought I was going to burst.”

Strayed nodded knowingly, for she understands acutely the role of writing through grief. Her 2012 bestseller “Wild” was centered on her hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, but at the heart of the journey was the loss of her mother.

“What does it mean to be human?” Strayed said, asking the question that writing helps us answer.

When Sandberg was at lowest, Grant taught her to ask herself: What could be worse than losing her husband?

She had many answers, but this one stood out: If Goldberg’s heart event happened while he was driving their children somewhere.

Sandberg told of how a fellow soccer mom she had never met became the only person she wanted to talk to. Like Sandberg’s children, the woman had…

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