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Sheryl Sandberg on Coping With Loss

Widowed Facebook exec leans in to help others

Sheryl Sandberg on Coping With Loss

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Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer of Facebook.

Until 2015, when her husband suddenly died during a family vacation, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg seemed like the last person to give advice about coping with grief and adversity. Sandberg, 47, was the lucky superwoman who had it all.

But after becoming a widow and single mother to two young children, she worked with psychologist Adam Grant to write a memoir, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, and started an organization called OptionB.org to help others bounce back from their losses.

In an interview with Time magazine this week, Sandberg talked about lessons she has learned. She cited three myths that make springing back from adversity so tough: that it’s your fault that something terrible happened, that you are engulfed in sadness and that grief is permanent.

Sandberg gradually began to recover from her grief, and she is dating. Encouraged by her in-laws, she started dating again, according to Time. Her current beau is Bobby Kotick, who runs the gaming company Activision Blizzard.

She has rethought some assumptions she made in her best-seller Lean In, about single mothers, many of whom live in poverty. As a result of her experience, Facebook has adjusted its bereavement and family-leave policies, and she hopes other companies will, too.

Still, the title of her memoir underscores her newfound vulnerability. A few weeks after her husband died, a friend volunteered to stand in at a father-child event at her children’s school. Sandberg wanted her husband back instead. Her friend replied: ”Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the s— out of Option B.”

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