Sheryl Sandberg was happily married and kicking career goals as a best-selling author and Facebook chief, when, while holidaying in Mexico in May 2015, her world came crumbling down.
Her husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died suddenly of a cardiac arrhythmia after collapsing at a hotel gym in Punta Mita.
The couple were away with Goldberg’s brother Rob and his wife – and the three of them were the ones to discover the 47-year-old lying in a pool of his own blood on the gym floor.
LISTEN: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to structure our grief. (Post continues after audio.)
“I started doing CPR,” Rob told TIME magazine.
“I remember not being sure if I could feel a pulse or if it was really my own heart pounding.”
Goldberg was rushed to a local hospital, where a doctor delivered the earth-shattering news to Sandberg that her husband had passed away.
A family friend also in Mexico, Phil Deutch, described the “awful, awful scene” that followed.
“The wails of her crying in that hospital were unlike anything that I’d ever heard in my life,” Deutch said.
Rob told TIME that he witnessed the moment Sandberg had to let go - both of her husband's physical body and to any hope he might wake up.