Imagine you and your spouse are on vacation. Your spouse goes to the gym while you lounge by the pool as you find taking a nap more appealing. Later you return to your room to shower, but your spouse isn’t there. Not even an hour later. You head to the gym and find your life partner dead at the foot of the treadmill. Sheryl Sandberg lived through her worst nightmare when she experienced just that. Undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia had taken her 47-year-old husband and soulmate, Dave Goldberg. Before tragedy struck, Sandberg and her husband were considered a Silicon Valley power couple. Now a widow and mother of two young children, she discovered tragedy is no respecter of persons, expressing it this way, “Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B.” “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” (2017) was written by Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, and Adam Grant, a psychologist who studies how people find meaning and motivation. Both have previously authored New York Times best-selling works. Her honest portrayal of how she navigated the uncharted terrain of living her “Option B” is gutwrenching at times, but the majority of the book focuses on how gradual healing came about when she chose to be patient with herself and accepted that she could gain strength just by surviving. Over time, she was able to allow herself to seek joy and she expressed that doing so helped her take back what was stolen from her. In her conclusion, Sandberg admits in some ways she has been able to move on and in other ways she has not. Using imagery we can relate to here on the Gulf Coast, she says grief can come “crashing in like a wave but it also rolls back like the tide. We are left not just standing but, in some ways stronger. Option B still gives us options. We can still live … and we can still find joy…” My father and I faced our own Option B in the aftermath of a car accident that took my mom’s life when I was 16 years old. From the moment my father shared this devastating news with me, he demonstrated a commitment to be true to himself and his faith, a life lesson in resiliency and hope that I still draw strength from today.
Lori Burleson has called the Gulf Coast home for the past 34 years–though, in conversation, it will not take long before she mentions her Texas and Tennessee roots. She married her college sweetheart, Hal, and they look forward to celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2018. Sons Ryan and Jared call her Mom and her two grandchildren call her LaLa. Lori, a retired piano teacher who spends her time loving on her “grands” every chance she gets, is active in her faith community, volunteers for Covenant Hospice, practices yoga, and enjoys reading, crochet, and playing the piano.
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