Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, has written an open letter to her fiance Tom Bernthal, thanking him for one of the most “transformative and fastest-flying years” he gave her.
After her husband, Dave Goldberg, died in 2015, Sandberg said her whole world turned “upside down”. “I really wasn’t sure I could ever devote my heart to another person like that,” she said in the letter.
“Together with our blended family, we have found a new path forward, one filled with so much gratitude and optimism,” Sandberg said in a post on Instagram.
But now, she has been engaged to Tom for a year and says that she has come to discover that Option B can also be filled with profound happiness. Managing her career and household single-handedly, Sandberg said in the letter that she was tired of making big parenting decisions all alone.
“Every Father’s Day will be a little bittersweet in our house — but now, also filled with the happiness you’ve brought to my kids’ lives. And there will likely always be grief in my heart for Dave. But you know that, and you understand and respect it, which makes me love you even more,” she said.
It was Dave’s brother, Rob Goldberg, who has introduced her to a close friend, Tom. “He just knew I had to meet you, his ‘good friend Tom.’ When I shook your hand for the first time, I had no clue that you would be the one to change my life,” Sandberg said in the letter.
As she reminisces about their “first real date”, she speaks about hoe she had discovered his generosity and warmth. When the both of them took a hike on the date, she explains that Tom had insisted holding his water bottle the entire time. “I don’t think anyone had ever held my water bottle before for an entire hike. It felt like a metaphor: I didn’t need someone to pull me up the mountain, just someone to make the uphill trek a bit easier,” she said. I’d soon come to discover in much bigger ways your remarkable generosity and warmth as a partner and parent, Sandberg said as she pointed out his qualities.
“There is so much joy to squeeze out of this new game plan. Thank you for helping me choose to see it,” the Facebook official said as she concluded the letter.