Luscombe is an editor-at-large at TIME.
One of the hardest things about losing a spouse is that, at the same time you are grieving and feeling hideous, you have to look after your kids who have lost a parent. It’s possible that you could find a new spouse. But a person can only ever have one biological father.
Certainly, that’s the case for Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO and author of Lean In, whose husband Dave Goldberg, the widely admired CEO of SurveyMonkey, died unexpectedly while they were on vacation in Mexico in 2015. Sandberg’s new book Option B, written with psychologist Adam Grant, is about her struggle with grief, what she learned about overcoming adversity and fostering post-traumatic growth, and how to make a suffering person feel better.
“As a mother you can be heartbroken for yourself but I grew up with a dad and he’s still alive,” she told TIME in an interview about her new book. “And I’m heartbroken that I was not able to give my children the stability of growing up with two parents, that they lived through and still are living through something so traumatic so young.”
In fact, the name of the book came from a conversation Sandberg had with one of her best friends Phil Deutch, a few weeks after Goldberg died. There was a father-child event at the kids’ school, and Sandberg was upset that her husband couldn’t be there. Deutch put his arm around her. “Option A is not available,” he said. “So let’s just kick the s–t out of Option B.”
Sandberg shared her journey in a raw interview with TIME.