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Blog image for Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook tribute to husband
Blog image for Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook tribute to husband

Each culture has its own traditions, rituals and ways of expressing grief and mourning. Customs, behaviours, and feelings that may seem strange or inappropriate in one culture may be considered usual or appropriate ways of grieving in another culture.

When Sheryl Sandberg's husband died suddenly, she used Facebook to publicly reveal her anguish.

In an emotional post to mark the end of sheloshim - a 30 day period of mourning for Jewish people - the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook wrote of the emptiness she felt and her determination to find meaning again after the death of her husband, Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey.

"I have lived thirty years in these thirty days," she said. "I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser."

The 45-year-old added that until now, she had not understood how to help others dealing with grief and her previous reaction had been to try to reassure others that things would "be okay".

"I learned this past month (that)... real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not," she said.

"I have learned to ask for help - and I have learned how much help I need.

"I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before-like life.

"As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted.

"My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before."

There is, of course, no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences it differently but it's important to allow yourself as much time as you need as losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone can go through.

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