So, I have something to share…

This past December, Alex’s older brother died. He was hiking near his home in Palm Springs and fell off a 40-foot drop. It was shocking and devastating for everyone. We found out one Tuesday night when we got a call from our brother-in-law. My mom immediately flew to Brooklyn to take care of the boys, while Alex and I flew to California to be with his family and arrange the funeral.

His brother was an amazing, warm, funny person, who loved dogs and played guitar and was madly in love with his wife, whom he had met six years before. He is very dearly missed. Toby is still confused about where Uncle Scott went, and why he wasn’t playing guitar over Christmas. It’s hard to explain death to a four-year-old, so I’ve been trying to keep it very simple.

I didn’t mention anything on the blog at the time for Alex’s family’s privacy and because it wasn’t my story to tell. So, instead, we just featured the usual lineup. But by now the news has been more widespread on Facebook and in local newspapers, and Alex is fine with my telling you, so I wanted to share.

We’re going back to California next week for the burial service and again to be with Alex’s family and his brother’s wife.

It’s funny because this winter we’ve been through a number of difficult things—with Alex’s brother, with Toby, with family—and I haven’t mentioned much on the blog. It’s a tricky balance because I try to be an open book on the site and don’t want to hide anything from you, but I’m not always ready to share things, or sometimes it’s not my place to share.

Sometimes I’ll be flipping through Instagram and it will seem like various people have such easy lives. Their babies play quietly, they never lose their temper, they wear dresses with tights in the winter. How do they do it? Why can’t I do it? But “there’s no such thing as a simple life,” says Olive Kitteridge. And that’s true. Of all people, I should know that, since I’ve seen firsthand how easy it can be to show one thing to the world while experiencing quite another.

So, today, while Instagram is still humming along (and I do love it), I’d love to secretly ask you:

Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed, if something is bothering you, if you have a secret struggle. Feel free to share your worries or just say “Raising my hand!” Feel free to leave your comment anonymously, if you’d like. Let’s show each other that we’re human and all in it together.

Sending lots of love and a hug to anyone who needs one today. xoxo

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

P.S. The hardest two months of my life, and wise words.

(Top photo by Keri Herer)