Relationships

A Secret

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)

  1. Dana Luna says...

    Rising my hand so high

  2. Holding my hand up high!

    And…prayers for you all…still.

  3. Robin Alford says...

    Raising my hand!!!! I have a 1.5 year old (20 mos) that is still not talking and everyone is making me feel like it is some kind of illness. She will talk when she is ready. I am VERY overwhelmed with this topic lately! Xo

  4. Maureen Pilkington says...

    Dear Joanna
    I live in France, on the franco swiss border 10 km from Geneva.
    I am one of your greatest fans.
    Today however, I am writing to say a BIG thank you! I think you just might have single handedly cured my 12 year old daughter of biting her nails. When I show her your article about the effect it has on teeth and I am pretty sure this will help her stop cold turkey just like you.
    Warmest regards Maureen Pilkington

  5. Veronica Schmitt says...

    Raising my hand! Daily!
    One thing I hate about IG (and I really, really love it) but it seems to be the best of the best. No one is posting photos that show going for a colonoscopy or fighting with their child/children/spouse/parent/friend….
    I love this site because I feel you are so real and approachable and everyone you feature seems the same. And even though it is really nice to show pretty pictures, there is so much substance here that helps me through many days.
    Keep on keeping on!

  6. danielle says...

    raising my hand my hand to someone who shares so much loveliness and reminds me that I’m not alone. wishing your sweet family peace.

  7. Soraya says...

    I love you and your family. I’ve been following you about three years and I am so sory for your family’s loss. Raising my hand from here, Rio/Brasil.

  8. Emmie says...

    I was raising my hand even before you said to. I’m sure I’ll still be raising my hand long after this sorrow is behind you. Some of us are just perennially overwhelmed.

  9. Andrea Jane says...

    Raising my hand. My little sister is laying on a couch, 25 miles away from me, dying of cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer almost a year to the day her daughter passed away. I feel so completely helpless. My entire life I have felt it was my job to shield her, protect her and it is so hard to just watch her waste away. There isn’t anything else that can be done for her so we are just waiting and trying to pretend everything is normal.

    • Sarah says...

      I am so sorry for your loss.

  10. Right there with you says...

    “Raising my hand!”

  11. Lindsey says...

    I raised my hand in February and I’ll raise it again. We all need to admit that every once and awhile.

  12. Kristy Ibarra says...

    RAISING MY HAND.
    You are awesome!

  13. Beautiful post. Raising my hand! And sending (late) prayers to your whole family.

  14. Unknown says...

    Raising my hand high

  15. I missed this news in February. My heart goes out to you and Alex. So very sorry.

  16. Raising my two hands. Sorry for your losses. Life is a combination of clear skies and clouds we all strive to paint blue. But there are indeed days when it feels like we are soaked up in nonstop rainy greys…until the rainbow comes or rather we see the rainbow in small other things such as being alive. Thanks for your honesty. All the best to you and your family, S

  17. Thank you for sharing this Jo. I love that you did. I am so, so sorry for your loss. It never seems enough to say that … But my thoughts are with you guys. Sending you love and virtual hugs!

    It’s easy to get lost in how perfect everything looks online. So often it feels like you are the only one struggling, even if you know it’s not true. It was really brave of you and amazing that it sparked so many supportive comments.

    Almost a year ago my Dad died. We were really close and I’m constantly reminded of him, which can be painful. It’s kind of settled in to a new normal, but it still hurts. This past week was his birthday, the first since he died. Although his last birthday he was in the ICU on life support, so it was a hard one too. The first anniversary of his death is just over a week away so that’s been on my mind lately. It’s been a tough month.

    I just started a website/blog where I share illustrations and personal stories about life and loss… Some are funny, most are sad, some are both. I just wanted to be there for other people who are going through something. Life seriously sucks sometimes. It’s nice to know you’re not alone and to have a laugh if you can. If anyone feels like it would help, you can check it out at http://www.honourbright.com

    Just wanted to thank you again, and say thanks to everyone else who commented. Your blog has been one of the little things I look forward to reading each week, which means a lot when they are shitty weeks :) Raising my hands and crying.

  18. Raising my hand.

  19. so sorry for your loss. And oh man do I raise my hand on a daily basis! then someone tells me that my blog and IG make it seem as though our lives are so exciting and perfect – and I feel bad. It’s too easy to have a perfectly curated life via social media.. but don’t believe it. In the words of REM – everybody hurts, sometimes.

  20. My hand is raised. And for what it’s worth, I am sending you and your family rays of golden light. Right now. Maybe you can feel it?
    Thank you for being one of my online real life heroes.

  21. Raising my hand!

  22. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on a blog, but this touched a raw nerve as my brother died suddenly in an accident almost 2 years ago now – I spoke to him one day, he was gone 2 days later. Grief hits everyone so differently, I see that in the contrast between the way my mum and dad are dealing with it. It comes in waves and drags you under a little while, but then a loved one or sometimes a stranger picks you up. I remember posting on a mamas forum for a therapist because that’s what everyone suggests you do, I didn’t get any recommendations, but I got an email from another mama who lost her sister 7 years before. It just said it gets easier, that your children (& future children) help the healing for everyone, and more than anything it acknowledged the pain of watching your parents in so much pain. It just helped a little hearing someone say that, and also just seeing the kindness in others who didn’t have to, but took the time to drop you a line. In my experience so far, grief retunes your senses to genuine acts of kindness, the simple things that matter in life – family and friends, it draws you closer, and it sends you forward to seek new adventures. Not a day has gone by without thinking of my brother, but the sleeplessness eases up, and I do feel I’m beginning to switch from sadness at what he is missing to gratefulness for what we had- I say starting to switch through a few tears! Sending love

  23. Raising my hand and sending a hug your way, too.

  24. I am raising my hand. My sympathy to the family and friends.

  25. Hi Jo,

    I’m a long-time reader and first-time commenter. I’m truly moved by your story and all these raised hands. I join you all by laying down my burdens, raising my hands, reaching out to take your hands, and fill the emptiness left by the burdens with love. May Christ bless us all!

    Amy Nicole

  26. This is the most heartbreaking post. I am so sorry. I am crying. And, yes, I’ve been overwhelmed lately and raising my hand.
    It seems that everywhere I look, everyone I talk with, have a devastating story. Thank you for all the love and hope your blog radiates.

  27. Raising my hand! Both hands! It’s been a rough few weeks for me too. Life is really challenging at times.

    I am so sorry for your loss and will say prayers for you and Alex and his family. This is heartbreaking. I am so sorry. Hugs.

    Thank you for sharing and thank you for writing this blog. #reallife Joanna, you are amazing.

  28. I am so behind on catching up on your blog so I am just now reading about Alex’s brother. I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s incredible how delicate life can be. I am thinking about you and your family and sending lots of love. And I’m raising both hands.

  29. So sorry for your family’s loss. Thank you for being transparent. My hand is up!

  30. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for this very refreshing post. Seeing everyone else’s lives through a Walden filter isn’t always very healthy.

  31. I’m so sorry to hear. Hand raised, for sure. I’m a regular and don’t blame you one bit for holding some things back. You give quite enough as it is.

  32. Hi Jo! I am sorry to read about this unfortunate incident which has surely affected your family. Though you are being very true to the site by telling every possible thing but it completely your choice. Moreover, sometimes its not the right moment, so you waited for one. Kudos to your spirit for posting a different thing while you are feeling another.

  33. I raise my hand.

    And thank you for the honesty.

  34. Jo, I save your blog like hiding cookies from my husband. I wait a week or two or three between reading so I can really enjoy a lot of it at once to brighten my day when I’m alone. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. You bring a lot of sweet joy to a lot of readers.

  35. Hands high, high up! Loss is so hard, so flabbergasting. Recently moved across the country to be with my boyfriend—but in the move, the stress proved a bit too much and within a week of arriving, I was hospitalized, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis…the past few months have been a slow piecing-together of myself again,walking again, etc. Thinking of you and your family! you are definitely not alone! :)

  36. Raising my hand. The biggest lie I’ve ever told is “I’m happy”

  37. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Thank you for the post. I think it can never be stated enough that we are all together in this thing called life and it’s never all sunshine and roses for anyone. No matter how it looks from the outside. Lovely, bittersweet reminder.

  38. i meant to comment last week, but wasn’t up to it, as i was in the midst of writing my father-in-law’s obituary, after he died while we were flying 2500 miles to see him after a stroke. It was a fairly unexpected event and the past week has been one of the most exhausting of my life. It is amazing to me how much stress can impact your physical well-being. I also ponder the concept of what to share with people, as it wasn’t “my” loss (though of course any loss is a personal loss…). Anyways, another hand raised, now that I have the energy to do so.

  39. I’m sorry to read about your loss. My brother in law just passed away on Feb. 4th. He died of respiratory failure unexpectedly in his sleep. My husband is from Thailand and his side of the family is all there. Unfortunately we couldn’t go back for the funeral due to the expensive flights. I feel sad for my husband because he didn’t get a chance to say goodbye and he won’t get to have closure.
    Anyways, I’m hoping it will all get better with time. God bless your family :)

  40. Raising my hand. Wishing your family peace and strength.

  41. Ana says...

    oh, so sorry for what you are going through.

    If it helps, i had shittiest hardest time end of the year. I went through a miscarriage (and it wasnt the first one).

    But life goes on and on my instagram you would have no idea what I went through;)

  42. I’m so sorry to hear that, raising my hand with you.

  43. Raising my hand up high and sending you my condolences and love and healing to the whole family.

    We all struggle and some years are worse than others…last summer my husband was in rehab, in the fall my best friend died when she was crushed by a car, we struggle financially many times…yet we are blessed and it’s ok to collapse and cry but just never lose sight and of the good and love we have in our lives. We are all trying to do as best we can…

  44. So sorry for you loss. I raise my hand. We have to know that istagram and Pinterest are just tiny bits of our lives we use to build our ideal (fake)online lives.
    No one can be sooo happy about art and crafs or new jeans,…that would be insane. Their just sparks.
    Lief is happines, but also deseases, death, frustation and jelaouse, we need to learn that.
    I thank life as most times I feel happy, it is more than enough for me.
    I send you lots of luv and hugs. To me you are a beautiful person.

  45. Sarah says...

    Definitely raising my hand. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts and good vibes are coming your way today.

  46. Heartfelt sympathies!
    Hands are in the air! :)

  47. Anonymous says...

    gosh, i can raise my hand, i should raise both hands and jump up and down! last february i chose to terminate a very much wanted baby due to multiple genetic problems that “were not compatible with life”. I have spent the last year in a dark place, deeply. mourning for my baby and for myself. this is such a divisive topic i never ever thought i would have to make this decision. subsequently i have had to mourn in private, as i can’t bear to have my friends and family judge me. i looked through my instagram account, through the horrific time, and it’s such a sham. literally sunny days and pretty meals. even though i really strongly do not want to share, i know i do a disservice to all my friends in joywashing my instagram. better perhaps to take a break. it really created a schism within me, which in turn made it that much harder to heal.

  48. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I have always loved my brother-in-laws, but once they became my son’s uncles, they grew even dearer. How awful to lose him. Hugs to you all; I’m glad you can be together for the service.

  49. Kahla says...

    Thanks for the reminder that every life has its heartrending moments. I think that gets glossed over sometimes. Thinking of you – and raising my hand.

  50. This is so sad. I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family!

  51. Eileen says...

    Joanna, I am so very sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Raising my hand and sending love to you all.

  52. Anonymous says...

    So sorry to hear about your BIL. Sending good thoughts your way.

    And I raise my hand. I think social media, where more often than not only the good side is shared makes it that much more harder to deal with the bad hand that life constantly deals to almost everyone. We all know life has its ups and downs, but when all that everyone shares is the good stuff, it becomes very difficult for people to speak up and say “hi, my life is not as rosy as you think it is …. “

  53. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand.

    So sorry for your loss.

  54. Raising a hand – and sending love.

  55. Kate says...

    ::: Raising my hand :::

    Thinking of all of you. It’s funny how close I feel to a number of bloggers I don’t *really* know. Thanks for your honesty and the nice reminder of humanity. Sending hugs.

  56. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  57. I am so sorry for your loss, Alex and Joanna. I raise my hand for the many times that life has been hard, but too for the recent loss of Deah Barakat, Yusor AbuSalha and Razan AbuSalha… the three young Muslims tragically murdered last week. It is rattling and scary to think of the horrors so close to home. It’s hard not to worry all the time. Thinking of you and wishing us all peace, safety, and balance in life. xo

  58. Anonymous says...

    Wonderful words to remind ourselves of from time to time:”Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” **Raising my hand**

  59. I’ve just lost my grandma a week ago, I live in Miami and she was in Venezuela, I was sad but so busy with work that choose to be sad later, today I’m devastated and miss my family so much. Couldn’t even talk about it till now. Thanks for this post.

  60. Thanks so much for sharing this. I recently went through a tradegy as well and appreciate your courage in sharing this.

    I love your blog and would be delighted if you get the chance to check out mine, Leopard Flats and Racer Backs.

    Hugs and love.

  61. Anonymous says...

    joanna, i am so sorry for your family’s loss. my hand is raised beside yours – beside everyone’s raised hands.

    my sweet, beautiful cousin (whom i considered a brother) died of a drug overdose a month ago today. i often feel like i am just sitting watching the world go by as usual while i struggle just to take a breath. i suppose that’s the thing, though. life does goes on, which is both beautiful and painful.

    sending loving thoughts your way, and to everyone who is struggling today (and tomorrow and a year from now). xo

  62. I am crying. I just posted a picture if my boy on instagram smiling but i am sad because my grandpa died today and i could not attend the funeral. Thank you!

  63. So sorry for your loss. Losing loved ones is so very hard. I lost my father in 2012; it really blows your world apart. But now, after a few years, I’m feeling “back to myself” and my life is actually moving forward. It takes time; be patient and kind to yourselves. :) This post was lovely; thank you for sharing. And I do believe we all have worries, secret or not, because we’re human and we’re perfectly flawed. Thanks for your blog; I read it every single morning with my coffee.

  64. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand.

  65. Anonymous says...

    Both hands.

  66. Anonymous says...

    I am crying. Reading these comments. I just want everyone to be okay.

    Including you jo and your entire family.

  67. Anonymous says...

    So very sorry. Thank you for your honesty. Really needed to hear this. Is it too late to raise my hand?

  68. Sending your family hugs – how very sad. We are also raising our hand here.

  69. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand. I come back to this blog daily -Great writing, ideas,hip insight, but most of all- honesty. Your sweet heart is out in the open – and you don’t make me think I suck for not keeping it all perfectly together all the time- cause I don’t . I want to crawl in a hole sometimes.
    You are kind, thanks for acknowledging our battles by sharing yours.

  70. I can definitely relate and empathize with you and all the wonderful people raising their hands. While I am not in a season of noteworthy struggle, I will raise my hands to lift up those that need support, and count on you when it’s my turn. ;)

  71. kt says...

    raising both hands in the air…

    … then opening them wide for hugs.

  72. Anonymous says...

    *Raising my hand*
    Thank you for your honesty, your posts have really helped inspire and comfort me!

  73. Anonymous says...

    such sweet words of humanity! your voice has value and is very appreciated! thank you!!!

  74. Thank you for posting this. Isn’t it interesting how to more we share, the more we all realize we have in common? I was struck by this myself and it’s really comforting. We never know what people have gone through, or what they are going through at any given moment. It seems like when we start to share, we start to connect in ways we didn’t expect.

    My mother passed away suddenly in 2006, due to a medical mistake, and my father was killed in 2010 in a car accident. A year after that, my best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the age of 32, and she passed away a year later.
    I guess I’m just sharing this to say, I hear you and I feel you. You and your family aren’t alone.

    xoxox

  75. Thanks so much for your openness. I’m raising my hands! My 31 year old husband has chronic health issues and hadn’t been able to work for the last 4 months. I have an almost 2 year old and am trying to hold it all together for all of us. Some days feel OK, others are just too much. And other days I’m alright until i remember normal people go out and do things and aren’t just constantly making food for for their bedridden husband. I have been walking around today, pushing my sleeping toddler in the stroller and feeling sorry for myself, this was just what I needed! Thanks for the reminder that we all have our struggles.

  76. Freida says...

    This touched me so much Joanna. Hand raised too, especially some days…. Thank you for sharing. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  77. Anonymous says...

    Hand up.

  78. Anonymous says...

    Hand up:)

  79. Anonymous says...

    I’m so sorry to hear that…
    There’s so much compassion, courage and love on all your post, but of course, specially in this one.
    Right now, I’m not talking to my mom because she doesn’t approve that I’m living with my boyfriend and I used to talk to her on daily basis so this new (and I hope temporal) situation it’s been hard on me.
    Of course it doesn’t compare to your struggle, but as you said, maybe we’re all struggling with something.
    Huge hugs for you and your beautiful family. I’ll pray for you guys.

    -A

  80. Anonymous says...

    I’m so sorry Jo. Thank you for your inspiring, honest posts. Your blog is the only one I visit time and time again because you GIVE to readers rather than it being a brag-site or a look-at-me-my-life-is-so-easy-and-wonderful-and-beautiful site. Those websites, while I like looking at the pretty pictures, actually leave me feeling worse about my own life. Whereas your blog leaves me feeling positive, inspired and mostly grateful to you for putting it out there in a balanced way. THANK YOU. And, raising my hand. xxx

  81. Anonymous says...

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. What a heartbreak! Thank you for sharing, and sharing even beyond it. I’m often drawn into continuing to show a strong front even though I just need to weep. I’m 13 weeks pregnant with my third child and haven’t yet brought myself to a public announcement. We’re telling people in person and every time someone congratulates us I cringe. I should be overjoyed, but I’m terrified. I finally shared this with a friend and she wept with me. It was so freeing to have someone say it’s okay to have fears, you’re not alone, I can walk with you. I was stunned. And so humbled. No one’s path is as polished or easy as it looks on social media, we all live in the grey areas, and hopefully we’re there together.

  82. Raising my hand. The weather is nice in Palm Springs this week. Hope the mild weather will give a little lightness to a very sad week for you and your family.

  83. So very sorry, Joanna. Sending heaps of love to you guys. And raising my hand (very high).

  84. Sending you thoughts and prayers. What a sudden and scary way to lose someone you love.

    I echo the fact that our social media feeds don’t reflect all of our reality. They are a glimpse into what we feel like sharing. I often feel like things are sufficiently chaotic that I want to put something simple or lovely out there, and reviewing those images and posts sometimes helps me remember that this is my focus. But I also remember that to take a picture of my socks, I had to walk to the part of the floor where you couldn’t see the cat toys, laundry basket, or dog fur. And that’s kind of it in a nutshell, isn’t it?

  85. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand xx

  86. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand too. I feel like my Facebook feed is an insincere look at my life, as I try to just post happy photos and thoughts. But I have daily/weekly struggles, especially with 2 little ones running around! And FWIW, my husband’s sister died suddenly two years ago, and it still makes me cry thinking about her. It gets easier, but it’s still painful to think about her being gone.

  87. raising my hand. sending you and your family lots of love and warmth. so sorry for your loss.

  88. Raising my hand. We all have our thing(s). I love your blog; and I have to admit that while reading, I have thought, “Gosh Jo’s got it so together”. We all can appear at times to be “one thing” and be “living” something very different. Such an important message to remember in this digital age. Sending love to you and your family.

  89. Raising my hand. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss – losing anyone at anytime is always tragic, but when it is sudden, it is especially so. Sending sincere condolences.

  90. Anonymous says...

    Precious Joanna and family,
    Your post was from your heart and so genuine–something we don’t see very often. I am raising both hands and thanking you for showing me I’m not alone.

    I am very sorry about Alex’s brother’s death. I lost a brother in an accident and it’s a hard road to go down. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    Continue writing and being yourself….you are a jewel.

  91. Anonymous says...

    January 30th was the anniversary of my BIL’s passing. He is still very missed. Explaining to my 5 and 7 year old children was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

  92. Anonymous says...

    Oh, me too. Totally raising my hand. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Jo. So sorry for all of your pain! It will get better…

  93. Anonymous says...

    Both hands raised. My husband is in school, I have to leave our baby at a daycare while I work so we can make it. My heart breaks everyday. It’s hard being a momma and one that has to work outside of the home. I try to keep the smile on but I’m breaking inside. Feels good to let that out. Thanks for sharing your heart Jo. You are a gem. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.

  94. Thoughts of strength go out to you and your family. There’s a bit of snow here today where I live and I always like to think that a good snowfall is a little blessing from my loved ones lost to remind me to slow down and remember that life is beautiful and to give those still with me a warm hug.

    I’m also raising my hand. Life is hard, sometimes harder than usual. These little snowflakes of love are helping me get through today.

    XO

  95. Anonymous says...

    Raising hands high. We’re lucky to get those picture perfect moments that turn into beautiful memories but I think life is marked by it’s never-ending ups and downs. Currently struggling with: fertility fears, family business troubles, and a dear friend just diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

  96. So sorry to hear this. Raising my hand

  97. Anonymous says...

    My hand is up! Infertility, crippling debt (from getting a fancy degree for a job that no one will hire me for, grrrr!) career misery – I’ve been dealing with so much for years and feel like I am at the end of my rope some of the time. Getting a counselor and some herbal mood enhancers have helped so much – as is remembering I have so much to be grateful for. I usually choose only to read blogs that are uplifting, and don’t make me feel envious at all anyway, but I even have to stop reading my favorites some days – just need to shut off the “noise” for awhile. But never Cup of Jo! I don’t know how you do it, but your voice and content is always so honest and uplifting – it’s always the first one I click on in my feedly reader,and it really does seem like you’re hearing from a beautiful, sweet friend. You don’t really owe us anything so just share what you want to share! I am so, so sorry for your family’s loss, that is so heartbreaking ;(

  98. Raising my hand!

    “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not. Oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
    –Longfellow

  99. “Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care…”

  100. Anonymous says...

    I feel very sorry for your loss. It’s hard for me to find the right words, because I am German (and male, which does not make it easier) – and my school English obviously is not good enough. Reading your post reminded me of something my 5-year-old son Paul said to me just yesterday. Out of the blue he came to me and said: „You know, daddy, when somebody dies, somebody else is born. When your dad left (my father died of cancer before Paul was born), I arrived. When Nabby died, Timmi came.“ (Our neighbour, whom he called „Nabby“, died last year, shortly after our second son was born.) When he said that to me, looking at me with my father’s eyes … I really had to struggle to fight back my tears.

    I don’t think that losing somebody we love makes sense in any way. But perhaps … looking in the eyes of our loved ones does.

  101. I’m so sorry to hear this.
    Raising both hands and a foot. I’m thinking of you all and sending my love.

  102. Rosa M. Pradas says...

    Raising my hand too, hugs from Barcelona, Spain

  103. Anonymous says...

    So sorry for you loss…My hand is raised

  104. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand. My 25 year old sister passed away this year as well in a tragic accident. I wish your husband the best of luck and recommend Compassionate Friends, it has helped me most in my time of need.

  105. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand!

  106. Anonymous says...

    I am sorry for your loss and you are not alone in this everyday battles. *raising my hands.

  107. Eva says...

    Raising my Hand!

  108. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand over and over again!
    Eva

  109. Raising my hand… My thoughts are with your family and Alex’s family too…
    Thanks you for being brave to share this sad new with us and show us we are all humans struggling with hard moment…
    All my thoughts from France

  110. Keren says...

    So sorry for your loss…
    Raising my hand!

  111. Anonymous says...

    so so sorry. hand raised here too.

  112. Anonymous says...

    I am raising my hand. I love being a mother – but most days I feel like I am treading water, gasping for air – trying to get it right at work, as a mom, as a wife, as a human. I’m trying so hard, but it never seems to be enough.

    I’m so sorry about Alex’s brother. I know that must be painful for you all and confusing and so sad for the boys.

    You are abundantly appreciated.

  113. Anonymous says...

    so, so, so sorry to read this. I hope you always feel you can share with us (even though some corners of the Internet can be so nasty). In the fall, I learned that I have an abnormal uterus that would make it nearly impossible to carry a child to term. Luckily, I’ve never been pregnant, but now I’m petrified of the road ahead. Surgery is an option, but still scary. So I’ve had that weighing very heavily on my heart. *raising my hand*

  114. Marie says...

    my hand is raised. So sorry. My youngest brother died from a fall a year ago….its a very hard thing to go through but it does get easier. Also – Being a mother can be so overwhelming. Since having my second baby 2 years ago, I still don’t quite feel back to normal, I feel like I have a million tabs open in my head and nothing ever gets finished or even started and I also am feeling zero sex drive lately and constantly feeling like I need to be more perfect in every way which I think is worsened by my addiction to Pinterest and Instagram, etc where everything does seem to be so perfect. I plan to make some changes…way less tech time, more connecting with nature and appreciating the simple things. Don’t know if you will read this but I also wanted to say how much I have loved your blog this year, great stuff. :)

  115. Anonymous says...

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Best wishes to you and your family during this time xx

    P.S. Hand up!

  116. Jeanine says...

    ^Raising hands^ Sorry for your lost. And thank you for sharing. Just want to let you know your blog means so much. It’s morning breakfast for the soul. Love the authenticity in cup of jo:) Yes we are all human afterall. Please take care.

  117. Your honesty and willingness to share has inspired me for years. I can’t even imagine what that was like. I admire your willingness to be creative and inspiring to us even when going through tragedy. The consistency proves that you are a tough gal, a fabulous mother/wife/sister-in-law, and a huge inspiration to all of us. Thank you for such a beautiful and candid post.

  118. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand and thank you for being so brave in sharing your story. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones.

  119. I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss. I appreciate your openness with your readers; it’s something that I feel has always set you apart (in the best way) from other blogs, and why people have such a meaningful relationship with your content. My thoughts are with you.

  120. raising my hand – thanks for sharing and for honesty and vulnerability on the ‘net – something i find scary and daring and wonderful and hopeful at the same time.

  121. I raise my hand. We all feel like evrerybody has it easy. Embrace the effortless moments, hold on to those who can get you through the tough ones.

  122. Joanna —

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. How awful.

    I’ve seen other blogger friends go through similar struggles: how to balance the blog and the private things that happen in real life.

    You don’t owe anyone — not one reader — anything about your private life. Yes, you post about things going on in your life, but by no means should you feel expected to share every private moment, tear, snafu or argument. Omitting these things doesn’t make you less authentic.

    I’ve been blogging for more than a decade and I’m sometimes surprised by how people think they “know” me, but none of us owe anonymous readers a thing, good or bad.

    Good luck, and thanks for caring so much about sharing with us.

  123. Raising both hands today! Sending many thoughts, hugs, condolences, and prayers to you and Alex’s family. Your blog is always such a pleasure and a comfort, and I hope that you’re all able to find comfort as you gather together to remember the life of Alex’s brother.

  124. My hands are up high. Struggling to keep it together too. Sending prayers to you and Alex and your families. Thank you.

  125. Flori78 says...

    Raising my hand too! Big hug from Paris.

  126. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand. I am a 25 year old student who is being bullied at university (strange, huh?) and my parents are horribly in debt and I feel so guilty not being able to help or be there for them.

  127. Marilyn says...

    Raising my hand. My thoughts are with you and your family. Beautiful post thank you for sharing.

  128. Becca says...

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I cannot imagine. I saw you at Chicago O’Hare airport on your way back. I was walking 2 feet behind you and your husband but didn’t want to stop you. It was dinner time. You had a bag from a burrito place. I wanted to speak to you, but figured enough people do that! I called my husband to tell him how excited I was to see you in real life. I watched your blog for a while to see if you’d write about that trip. I’m so very sorry to hear that it was for this reason. So happy that your family is so close to lean on each other. xo

  129. Anonymous says...

    Raising my hand. After two years of trying for our second child, my husband and I just found out that both of my tubes are completely blocked following an undiagnosed and untreated infection two years ago from an IUD I had. This after the doctors I saw for it told me there was nothing wrong with me (despite ER-worthy abdominal pain) and that it was all in my head. Everything I did to try to get pregnant all this time, including tracking my temperature, going to acupuncture 2-3x a week, and working with a life coach to manage work stress that I thought was the reason for my infertility was up against a complete no-go situation all along. At this point my only options are major surgery and/or IVF, but with this condition apparently IVF success rates are pretty low. I’m only 32. I know I’m so lucky to have one child already, but I was not ready to be done having children and I want so badly for my daughter to have a sibling. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for getting the IUD in the first place since I only got it in an effort not to get pregnant again when I had a newborn and had never otherwise been on birth control.

  130. Anonymous says...

    Hand held high! xoxo

  131. i am so sorry to hear this. sending all my love to Alex family and you, and raising my hand really high.