Three people. All of them high profile. All of them successful. All of them friends. Sitting on stage in front of a crowd at the venue 92Y in Manhattan.
There is Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and co-author of Option B. Adam Grant, organisational psychologist and also co-author of Option B. And Katie Couric, host of the event and the consequential podcast.
Grant and Couric were the people Sandberg called when she was told grieving her husband’s death “wouldn’t get easier”.
It was May, 2015 when 49-year-old Dave Goldberg, Sandberg’s husband of 11 years and the father of her two children then aged seven and 10, fell off a treadmill and died unexpectedly from cardiac arrhythmia while the pair were holidaying in Mexico.
A few months later, Sandberg received a letter from a woman who “had good intentions”, but who Grant describes as “evil”, and the letter said this:
“I wish I had something to say to you. But I don’t. It’s been ten years and it doesn’t get easier.”
Sandberg called Grant and Couric. They told her it wasn’t true. Surely things would get easier for Sandberg, a woman who at that time felt like she “wasn’t able to live through a minute, a day, a week”?
Surely, this wasn’t the way to speak to someone grieving?
The two friends vowed to help Sandberg through it.
"There are these three traps we all run into when we're grieving. The first is personalisation, saying: 'this is all my fault'. The second is pervasiveness: 'this is going to ruin every part of my life'. And the third is permanence: 'I'm going to feel this way forever'," Grant told the audience.