Facebook boss on the guilt of feeling happy a year after her husband’s death

“How can I smile or tell a joke when I’ve lost Dave?"

Facebook’s second in charge, Sheryl Sandberg, has opened up about the “real desperation” she felt after the death of her husband of 11 years, Dave Goldberg, in the June issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Two years ago, the former Google vice-president found her 47-year-old partner lying beside a cross-training machine in a gym while the pair was holidaying in Mexico to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday.

She frantically performed CPR, but Dave could not be saved.

What was supposed to be a special, celebratory day turned into one of the worst moments of her life.

In an intimate interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Sheryl describes how she learned to live with the “demanding companion” that is grief, and how she has rediscovered joy.

“Great adversity takes the joy away because you feel guilty,” Sheryl tells The Australian Women’s Weekly. “How can I smile or tell a joke when I’ve lost Dave? People feel guilty doing the most basic things that make them happy.”

The author of the best-selling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead has penned a second book that details the her romance with her husband, the pain of his loss and “vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to even breathe.”

Co-written with friend and psychologist Adam Grant, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy is for anyone who is, or who knows someone, facing hardship, Sheryl says.

Read Sheryl’s whole interview in June issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

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