Sheryl Sandberg wrote a post on her facebook account marking the end of sheloshim, the completion of religious mourning for a spouse. As most people are aware, her husband died in a treadmill accident when they were on vacation. You can read the full post here
I read the post this morning out of empathy & curiosity. I am interested in the experiences of other people, how they deal with grief, how honest and vulnerable they are willing to be.
I remember after my mom died we decided to have as many relatives as possible at the house for Christmas. There was a point during the afternoon, out on the back deck a few of us were talking about just how angry we were that everyone else was going about their lives, smiling, enjoying and celebrating while if felt like our world just stopped or should have stopped. The injustice of everyone else’s lives continuing while ours felt frozen. How dare people go about their lives as if nothing happened? The loss was so huge, it wasn’t logical that everyone else wasn’t impacted as we were.
“A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.”
There is another part of her post toward the end that struck me,
“I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”
So, there it is, the lesson that is always there when you are open to receiving it. You don’t have to lose a spouse, partner, parent, best friend or child to get this lesson. Most people want option A in a thousand ways every day.
Some people have option A and often forget how blessed they are because we are all so busy living our lives, getting from morning to evening. We often feel too busy to stop for a moment and appreciate what we have. Instead of those moments of joy and gratitude, more often we are so busy just doing.
The other side of the coin, the reality though for so many others, option A is not available. Doesn’t matter why it is not there, the fact remains, it is gone.
As Sheryl so beautifully ended her post,
“Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.”
We all can take a piece away from this if we choose to…
‘I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B’