ASheryl Sandberg is Facebook’s COO and a New York Times best selling author. Her husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly while on vacation in Mexico in 2015.
In Option B, she talks openly about the struggle to regain a life that she loved, as well as maintain some composure and normality for her children when they needed her most. Worried that she will never again find joy, Sandburg turned to psychologist Adam Grant to help provide insight on how to find strength. Sandburg takes the reader along her journey of grief. The brutality of the initial loss, the dense fog that covered her life, and the ways she has learned to cope with the never ending ride. Her account is honest, unapologetic, and presented in a way that we felt to be relatable.
Sandburg discusses learning how to move forward from the depths of despair – the ways in which she found to be most helpful to further her healing. Acknowledging her feelings was a recurring theme. Whether she was experiencing unrelenting anger or jealousy towards those who have what she lost, or despair that sits on your chest like an elephant. She explains that the only way to come out on the other side of these feelings in a healthy way is to allow them, let them fall over you. Sit with them until they begin to lift. Simply put, “Lean into the suck”, which was a piece of advice she received from a rabbi – meaning that it would hurt, it would suck, and not to fight it.
Loved ones often feel hesitant when trying to approach those suffering, or are unsure of what to say. Sandberg outlines this as the “elephant in the room”. People don’t know what to say, so they refrain from saying anything at all. This can create a feeling of isolation. As if the feelings you struggle with must be conquered alone. Sandberg highlights that acknowledging pain and showing up for our loved ones is an immense help in their healing
So what does showing up look like? Taking initiative to provide comfort and companionship. Bring over a meal, take them out for coffee, or offer to just sit in the discomfort of their sadness. Ask questions, or just listen. It’s impossible to fix the suffering of a loved one, but what makes it better is connection and empathy. They best way to deal with the elephant is to kick it right out of the room
In account of her resiliency, Sandburg tells the story of how she got the title for her book. In a particularly vulnerable moment after losing her husband, Sandburg was longing for life pre-grief, battling with the acceptance of her new existence. It was in that moment that a close friend simply stated, “Option A is no longer available, so let’s kick the shit out of Option B”. Often we need to be reminded of our strength. That we can take Option B and create something that we’re proud of and can feel joy with
Grief looks very different for everyone. Sandburg doesn’t claim to be the ideal model for all grieving widows and she doesn’t suggest to have every answer. What she offers in this book are the ways in which she was able to find her light again through her struggle in the dark. The promise of a brighter tomorrow. Her journey of resiliency is an example of how we can still find joy through unrelenting heartache
Option B is about rewriting your narrative – Creating your best “Option B”.
If you’re experiencing loss or hardship Option B online provides support from a community of people who are going through similar situations.