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‘Every Day Is Like a Week’: Sheryl Sandberg on How to Recover When the Worst Happens

2 minute read

Grief doesn’t hit everybody the same way. And people deal with it differently. But Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband Dave Goldberg died unexpectedly in 2015, thinks there are some things all grieving people share. “The one thing that I’m so sure is a universal is when you’re hit with real grief, time slows down,” she said. “Every day is like a week.”

Sandberg learned that, she thinks, from Joan Didion’s book on grief, The Year of Magical Thinking. “And having read her book when I was going through it, made me feel less like I was living in a time warp, and more like ‘O.K., this is the fact that I feel like I’m not going to make it through an hour, therefore that hour is long.’ It really helped me. So I’m grateful to the other people who shared their experiences openly.”

Sandberg has now shared some very raw feelings of her own in Option B, a new book she has written with psychologist Adam Grant — and in a TIME magazine cover story. As she researched her book, she learned more about recovery, post-traumatic growth, how to build up resilience and find some joy.

One of the key lessons is the mistake of believing in what she calls the three Ps: that your adversity is Personally your fault, should Pervade your whole life and will Persist forever. She wishes she had understood them sooner: “If I had understood the Three Ps, my mourning period when I got divorced would have been way shorter,” she said. “Because I would have stopped thinking everything was horrible and known I wouldn’t have felt this way forever. Horrible, permanent, all my fault.”

She shares some more of those lessons in this video.

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Write to Diane Tsai at diane.tsai@time.com