Sheryl Sandberg Reflects on the 2 Years Since Her Husband's Death: 'Lean Into the Suck'

By
Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg is reflecting on lessons learned from the sudden death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, two years ago.
"My rabbi told me to 'lean into the suck,'" the 47-year-old Chief Operating Officer of Facebook reveals in a new interview for Sunday’s episode of CBS Sunday Morning. "And I thought, 'That is not what I meant when I said lean in.' But it was really good advice. Because what he was telling me [was], 'This is going to suck. Don't fight it.'"
Goldberg died while the couple was vacationing in Mexico in May 2015. He was 47. Though he was exercising at the time and suffered trauma from hitting his head on a treadmill, an autopsy report revealed that the cause of death was coronary heart disease and had a cardiac arrhythmia.
The tragedy left Sandberg to raise their two children alone, and being a single mother has been "much harder" than she imagined.
"When I wrote Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, I hadn’t really ever thought enough about what it was to be a single parent," Sandberg says of her 2013 best-seller. "I don't think I got it. Being a single mother, even for me with all the resources I have, is much harder than I ever imagined."
Sandberg shares more on healing from grief in her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, co-written with friend and psychologist Adam Grant.
"So one thing that happened is, Adam one day said to me, 'It could be way worse,'" she recalls of how Grant helped change her perspective. "And I looked at him like, 'Are you crazy? I just lost my husband suddenly, how could it be worse?' And he said, ‘Dave could’ve had that same cardiac arrhythmia driving your children.'"
In spite of the hardships in her personal life, Sandberg has learned to laugh again, even when it takes a little extra work.
"I've had to work hard at finding laughter," she shares. "Even jokes early on made me kind of gasp in shock like, 'Oh my God, I just made a joke.' I was watching TV early on with my sister-in-law, and I kind of blurted out, 'Well, at least I don’t have to watch Dave's bad TV shows anymore.' And then I just froze in horror, like, Oh my God... But then we laughed!"
Sunday Morning airs at 9:00 a.m. ET on CBS.