Transition to Option B

Posted by Marlene Delaney

Transition to Option B

As I am sure most of you know, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and the author of "Lean In," lost her husband in a tragic accident. Since her loss, she has made several online posts including one that talks about Option B, "the stage in which you redefine and reclaim your life after the one you thought you'd have is cruelly

In marriage, I don't think people think about Option A or Option B. It is simply an all-in, Option A approach. At least it was for me – and I think for Sheryl Sandberg, too. 'In good times and bad, in sickness and health, until death do us part' meant that yes, there would be some bad times but there were going to be a lot of good times, too – we were going to grow old together, live a fun life in retirement, and enjoy our grandchildren. But life doesn't always work out that way.

In my case, my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and after we had tried numerous treatment paths, it became clear that Option A was not going to play out as planned. However, for me, Option B did not begin after his death. It began when we chose to move Tom to the Midwest CareCenter for hospice and end of life care. By doing this, we were encouraged to think about Option B and the end of Tom's life in the peaceful, tranquil setting. Midwest CareCenter was a gentle pathway to Option B. We were comforted and consoled by family and friends along with the staff.

Sheryl Sandberg's online posts on grief have raised people's awareness that they may have to deal with Option B, and her transition to Option B was abrupt due to the tragic nature of her husband's death. Although losing your spouse at an early age is never easy, and dealing with that future is not fun, I consider myself lucky and fortunate to have had the transition to Option B be kind and gentle through hospice.

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