Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, in 2015. That moment felt like her world fell apart. Assurances came from her friends and family who tried to convince her that love would find its way again. But grief was all that she could feel. Sandberg did try to move on, but she felt she was being publicly judged for it.
“Dave’s mother said to me really early on, ‘You’re going to get married again, and I’m going to dance at your wedding,'”Sheryl recalls. She says it was ‘such a gift’. “I think you need permission. Someone needs to say, ‘It is OK; it is not your fault,’ ” she says.
It was some time before Sheryl finally realised that it was actually okay to move on and love was possible again.
And then, she was introduced to marketting CEO Tom Bernthal by Dave’s brother Rob Goldberg. Tom had been through a divorce that had impacted him emotionally. In each other, Tom and Sheryl found love, strength and motivation to move on.
It has been a year since the two have been engaged and Sheryl, Facebook’s first female board member has penned an open letter to fiancé thanking him for giving her hope in times when she needed it the most.
“A year has passed since we got engaged — one of the most transformative and fastest-flying years of my life. I look at where we are today and how the seven of us have come together as a family during an incredibly difficult time for our country and world, and I can’t quite believe we did it,”she writes in the beginning of her letter.
She recalls their respective journeys in life when they were pushed to ‘breaking points’.
“When Dave died, I could barely imagine dating again, much less getting married,”she wrote. “I distinctly remember tucking the kids into bed and sitting by myself at the kitchen table where Dave and I once played countless games of Scrabble together. I’d picture myself at that table, alone, for the rest of my life.”
She writes about Rob and how he introduced him to Sheryl. “Dave’s brother, Rob, had a different idea for me. He just knew I had to meet you, his “good friend Tom.” When I shook your hand for the first time, I had no clue that you would be the one to change my life.”
“On our first real date, we took a hike. You insisted on holding my water bottle the entire time. It was a small thing, but it really struck me,” she recalls.
“..together, we have found a new path forward, one filled with so much gratitude and optimism. In that spirit, thank you for helping me refocus my energy on what’s important and more fully appreciate all of life’s gifts,” she writes.
“When you got divorced and I lost Dave, Option A was taken off the table. Every Father’s Day will be a little bittersweet in our house — but now, also filled with the happiness you’ve brought to my kids’ lives,” she writes. She says that Dave’s memories will always be close to her, but his Tom’s support has been a motivation. “Thanks to you, I have come to discover that Option B can also be filled with profound happiness. There is so much joy to squeeze out of this new game plan. Thank you for helping me choose to see it,” she writes in conclusion of her letter.