November 27 was the three year anniversary of Kristin Cavallari's brother's tragic death, and the March 24 episode of Very Cavallari saw her continue to grieve his loss on that day. After launching a Los Angeles pop-up shop for her lifestyle brand, Uncommon James, Kristin caught up with an old high school friend over drinks. That's when the anniversary really sunk in. "I just wish I could hug him one more time, and say goodbye," she told her friend Brittany, who knew her brother in high school. "As soon as you think you're OK ... it comes out of nowhere and f*cks you up."
Michael James Cavallari was found dead on December 10, 2015. Initially, cause of death was rumored as suicide, per E! News, but was concluded to be hypothermia. On her show, Kristin struggled with the fact that, for a full 24 hours, her family didn't know he was at the end of his life. Two weeks before his body was found, the Friday after Thanksgiving, his car was found crashed on the side of the road in Utah. Kristin said her family assumed he checked himself into a hotel to sleep. When they didn't hear from him, they became concerned. Three days after he was reported missing, his body was found three miles from his car. On the show, Kristin said her brother struggled with "mental issues" and got lost before dying from extended exposure to the elements.
The unexpected passing of her brother has been difficult for Kristin to accept, but she believes it has made her a more spiritual person. At the launch of her L.A. pop-up, she told press that she felt his presence, and that his passing, for her, encouraged deep introspection. "Mike was really unhappy," she told Brittany that night. "And I honestly think he's in a better place ... It was for the best. As crazy as it is for me to say that. It's just, how it went down is the part that kills me."
The timing of her brother's death was also an overwhelming experience for Kristin. She had just given birth to her third child, daughter Saylor James, who shares a middle name with Mike. The Uncommon James brand is named after both of them. "On one hand I had this little, brand new baby that I had to be strong for," Kristin said on the show. "And I lost my brother, all within days of each other. And it was just a really really tough time for me."
Kristin has shared a message about her brother on Instagram each year since 2015, and she said the third year was one of the hardest. "Home from a busy morning and thinking of my brother," she wrote under a black and white photo of her holding a glass of wine, Mike holding a beer. "Today is the 3 year anniversary of his passing and I think this year is one of the hardest- as it’s real now. He’s not coming back and the shock is finally gone. Today and every single day, Mikey, we miss you."
Although her brother's death was as a tragic loss for Kristin and her family, she may have not created Uncommon James if it wasn't for the learning experience it gave her. And like she said on the show, he's always with her in spirit.