"I was just talking to my mom about it. We definitely feel him around sometimes, which is special," the 31-year-old reality star told ET's Lauren Zima at the Uncommon James pop-up shop at The Grove in Los Angeles on Tuesday. "Today's actually the three-year anniversary of his passing, so it's kind of crazy. Thanksgiving is a tough time for us, but we definitely feel like he's watching over us. He's my kids' little guardian angel, so it's nice."
Michael was reported missing in early December 2015 and later found dead on Dec. 10, after a car registered in his name was found abandoned in Grand County, Utah, on Nov. 27, 2015. A medical examiner ruled the then 30-year-old's death an accident and determined that Michael, who had crashed his car while passing through a mountainous part of Utah, died of hypothermia due to below-freezing temperatures.
Kristin Cavallari's Brother's Death Ruled an Accident
It's been a great year for Kristin, with the success of her jewelry, clothing and home brand and the launch of Very Cavallari(returning to E! next spring). However, she still wishes Michael was by her side to share all the blessings that have come into her life.
"There's a part of me that's like, I wish I could talk to him and show him everything that's been happening," the former The Hills star expressed. "But then, I also feel like he probably knows, you know? Like him passing truly made me a much more spiritual person and really look inward and find what I really believe in. And I definitely feel like he's around and he knows what's going on. So it's all good, you know?"
Uncommon James -- the brand she launched in 2017, which will have a pop-up shop at The Grove through the end of January 2019 -- also has a very special name that stems from her brother and 3-year-old daughter, Saylor's, middle names.
"James is my daughter's middle name. It was actually my brother's middle name as well," Kristin, who is also mother to two sons, Camden, 6, and Jaxon, 4, said. "So it's a special name to me and my family. I always knew that when I decided to launch Uncommon James, I knew I wanted James in the name. It was a matter of finding what that combination of words was. [My husband] Jay [Cutler] actually came up with Uncommon. It was my 30th birthday, we were in Mexico with a bunch of friends…it was just me and my friends hanging around, and Jay trying to come up with a name for the line. And Jay came up with Uncommon and I loved it."
Following the event, Kristin also posted a special tribute to her brother on Instagram, sharing a black-and-white photo of the two.
"Home from a busy morning and thinking of my brother. 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," she wrote.
"I've really found a lot of strength in my kids," she explained at the time. "I had Saylor at the same time my brother went missing, and then ultimately passed away, and so I couldn't collapse. I had a newborn baby to look over."