Mourning the Death and Celebrating the Life of Dave Goldberg

As one of Dave Goldberg's friends put it, "Don't go back to life as it was. Pack more loving and more giving into it as Dave did and don't sweat the small stuff." And that is the truth we are left with at the end of this heartbreaking, yet soul-stirring day.
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I'm on the red-eye from San Francisco back to New York after a deeply moving day mourning the passing and celebrating the life of Dave Goldberg.

Scott Tierney, Dave's college roommate, summed up the feeling that permeated the service, the burial, and the shiva afterward: "Dave was my best friend, but there are countless people here who feel the same. How does this happen? Because for Dave, friendship was a verb, he invested in it, he sought and brought out the best in people, and he magnified it." And that was the message from so many who spoke at the service and shared their memories at the shiva. As another close friend, Chamath Palihapitiya, put it, he was that rare person in modern life, "the ultimate throwback -- available, tactile, real. When you had a problem, you went to Goldie."


Another friend talked about how to translate Dave's legacy into our own lives: "Don't go back to life as it was. Pack more loving and more giving into it as Dave did and don't sweat the small stuff." And that is the truth we are left with at the end of this heartbreaking, yet soul-stirring day. That and what the rabbi said, "Dave was not only a mensch, but a tzadik" -- a wise and generous man who helped us connect with a deeper and truer part of ourselves.

Dave's wife, Sheryl Sandberg, touched everyone's heart when she spoke of the love of her life with words she also posted on Facebook:

I want to thank all of our friends and family for the outpouring of love over the past few days. It has been extraordinary -- and each story you have shared will help keep Dave alive in our hearts and memories.

I met Dave nearly 20 years ago when I first moved to LA. He became my best friend. He showed me the internet for the first time, planned fun outings, took me to temple for the Jewish holidays, introduced me to much cooler music than I had ever heard.

We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine... He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved -- and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world.

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn't sure what to do, he figured it out. He was completely dedicated to his children in every way -- and their strength these past few days is the best sign I could have that Dave is still here with us in spirit.

Dave and I did not get nearly enough time together. But as heartbroken as I am today, I am equally grateful. Even in these last few days of completely unexpected hell - the darkest and saddest moments of my life -- I know how lucky I have been. If the day I walked down that aisle with Dave someone had told me that this would happen -- that he would be taken from us all in just 11 years -- I would still have walked down that aisle. Because 11 years of being Dave Goldberg's wife, and 10 years of being a parent with him is perhaps more luck and more happiness than I could have ever imagined. I am grateful for every minute we had.

As we put the love of my life to rest today, we buried only his body. His spirit, his soul, his amazing ability to give is still with it. It lives on in the stories people are sharing of how he touched their lives, in the love that is visible in the eyes of our family and friends, in the spirit and resilience of our children. Things will never be the same -- but the world is better for the years my beloved husband lived.

The whole day was a powerful reminder that our resumes have very little to do with our eulogies. As it happens, Dave had a very impressive resume, most recently as the CEO of SurveyMonkey, building the company from 12 employees to 500 and a $2 billion valuation. But there was barely a mention of any of this during the tributes, which were all about the other things: how he made people feel, his integrity, his essence, his humility, his honesty, how he always showed up for his friends, how much he meant to them and to his family, the small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made him laugh. The tributes were a powerful reminder of how easily we forget that often what we prioritize during our days is not what our eulogies will cover. And this is one more thing I'm grateful to Dave for.


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