I apologize for the disappearing act over the last week. I’m currently in the middle of a 10-hour road trip back to Charlotte after spending the last five days in Florida with my family.
On Monday, September 19 at 11 p.m. I received phone call from my mom that my little brother Will had passed away. Needless to say, I needed to take a step back from the online space as I sorted through my feelings and grief.
Some of you may not know that I had a brother because for the most part, I’ve kept our relationship off of my blog. While we were close as children, our relationship has been somewhat strained for most of my adult life. Setting boundaries was extremely painful but also necessary for my own self-care. He ultimately passed away at the age of 27, just a month shy of his 28th birthday, from health complications related to addiction.
The last time I saw my brother was Christmas of 2014, nearly two years ago. I always held onto hope that he could somehow turn it around but despite the tools and support offered, he couldn’t find the strength inside to make it happen. I can’t even begin to express to you how sad it makes me that the thoughtful, empathetic, expressive, adventurous boy I grew up with is gone. That I will never have the lifelong brother/sister relationship with him that I’ve yearned for over the years. The reality that I’ll navigate the rest of my life without that brother is still something that I’m working to accept.
For now I’ll focus on memories of the happy times we shared in our youth as well as the hope he leaves behind with his two little girls.
They both live in Georgia with their mother, my sister-in-law and brother’s ex-wife.
Jaidyn is 8.
Kilynn is 4.
I sat with my parents this morning as we discussed plans and next steps. I’ll be traveling back to Florida in the coming weeks for a memorial service. My best friend Dorie has been amazing throughout all of this and she’s set up a fund to help support the girls. I am so grateful to her for thinking of this and organizing it. I’m also appreciative of Tanner, who flew down on Friday night to join me in Florida and spent the weekend with us. He’s keeping me company on the long drive back to Charlotte.
I have really struggled over the last seven days with what to say in this space because this loss feels so private and personal to my family. It’s been a years-long battle with a heartbreaking ending. But, as I reminded my parents this morning and have written here many times before, we all endure tough and terrible things.
I’ve learned through teaching yoga, leading teacher trainings and just being a human on this earth for 33 years that you’re hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t experienced great loss or struggle, both personally and within family dynamics. Talking about it is the right thing to do. Pretending like everything is fine when it’s not is the wrong thing to do. It further perpetuates the cycle of shame and guilt and beats down vulnerability, which is the pathway that we all so desperately need to love and authenticity.
It’s my prayer that my brother has found peace and that my family will too as we all work to heal and move through this.
All my love,