Option B – Finding strength in your community

I share something in common with Sheryl Sandberg, the intelligent, driven COO of Facebook and world-renowned author of ‘Option B’.  Unfortunately, it is not in her high-powered, influential position in the business world that we are kindred spirits, it is that I unexpectedly lost my husband last year just as she had the year before.
In an instant, my best friend, my husband, my ‘Option A’ was gone.  I found myself alone, lost and drowning in sorrow.  But I was surrounded by people; some were close by and others far away, some I knew intimately and others I barely knew their names.  ‘Who were all these people?!’ I thought to myself in a numb, shock-ridden state.  These people, a group I now lovingly call ‘my community’, in many different ways opened up their arms to me and gave me strength through generous gestures, kind words and heartfelt sympathies.  On a daily basis, they motivated me and most importantly they acted as my ‘Option B’.
Ms. Sandberg realistically wrote that when you lose your ‘Option A’, it is your community, be it 1 person or 100, that can help you kick the shit out of life as an ‘Option B’.  We all experience hardships and loss and can seemingly lose our options in life.  It is our community that can help us build our resilience and motivate us to get through the dark times.  In death, I have learned that people are truly kind, people will go out of their way to comfort others and most importantly, people thrive by lifting up those around them.  So when you find yourself swallowed up by a hardship, use all of your might to open up your arms to ‘your community’ because at that point, you will be enveloped with a strength you didn’t think existed.  Your community will help you to move forward.  You are your community.
Although I have not personally met Sheryl Sandberg, I feel I know her through her writings and speeches and she has influenced me.  My recipient to this note is not only Ms. Sandberg or ‘my community’ but an individual who has been a part of both, Sally Mundell.  She is a widow whom I first met when I moved to my neighborhood and she has displayed strength, empathy and tenacity after the loss of her husband, a gentleman my husband and I both knew.  On her own, she has raised two girls, written a book on her story, started a non-profit organization called ‘The Packaged Good’, all while working in marketing.  I am happy to say that she is part of my community and is kicking the shit out of ‘Option B’.
– More about Sheryl Sandberg’s teachings can be read in her book ‘Option B’.
– You can read a short segment on Option B here:
– Many of Sheryl Sandbergs speeches and interviews are on Youtube, you can see her Berkeley Commencement Speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqm-XEqpayc
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