Remembering TT

Life is fragile.  Time passes too quickly.  You can not plan everything so make the most of the what comes your way.  Celebrate those you love and have fun.  Dance and eat and laugh and hug.  Dress up in fun clothes.  Be nice to each other.

I stood in the front of the church with tears coming down my cheeks and tried to speak in a strong voice, despite my sadness.  I had stood in that same spot and spoke in a strong and happy voice almost 23 years before at the wedding of my two friends.  Who could have imagined on that happy occasion that we would be back in the same spot all these years later for their daughter’s funeral?

Tiara Jeanne Goff (TT) was a beautiful free spirit who was not afraid to dance and sing, not caring who was watching her – in fact, the more cheering the better.  She loved to play basketball, jump on the trampoline, color with her crayons, eat guacamole and hummus and listen to music.  I was blessed to know her and get the lessons she unknowingly imparted to everyone she met.

TT in 2005 – age 6 
Tt had a ready smile when she was happy and let you know when she was not.

TT in 2007 – age 8
She was not self conscious or pretentious.  She loved sparkly, shiny jewels and pretty clothes.  
TT in 2014 – almost 16
She loved to laugh and when she had enough of you, she would tell you it was time to go.

I have known Tiffani, TT’s mother since I was 16 years old.  She is one of my very closest friends and watching Tiffani and her sweet husband Lou and her two daughters struggle with the illness of their daughter and sister was heart breaking.  However, Tiffani and Lou were inspiring in the way they drew closer together in their marriage, supported each other and took care of their family.  Despite their daily struggles, they always managed to sincerely care about what was happening in the lives of those they love.  In fact, when my mother was sick and I would come to visit her, I would stop by to cry to Tiffani and she would always make me feel so understood in my sadness, despite the difficulty of what she was facing.  

Tiffani had called me in November asking if I would be out to CA soon.  Like most mothers Tiffani had a tremendous intuition about her daughter and her health.  She knew that TT was getting worse and she sensed that TT did not have much time left.  As it happened, I was going to be out and we arranged that I would do a portrait session of TT and the family.  

TT in 2005 – age 6 looking sly, probably planning an escape.

TT in 2007, so happy and ready to dance.

TT in 2014, with her sweet smile.

Sisters forever

The family in 2007- grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family in 2014 – grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Family in 2007

Family in 2014
My friends Tiffani and Lou first found out that their little girl Tiara (TT to her family and friends) had an incurable and severe genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex when she was just a baby. This disease is characterized by seizures and tumors.  It is more severe in some people than others and for TT is was devastating.  However, she was a fierce fighter and her spirit refused to give up for 16 years.  TT passed away at the end of January 2015, surrounded by her family.  Please consider learning more about TSC and supporting the foundation.  You can read TT’s whole story on Tiffani’s blog.


  1. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post about Tiara and our family. I love seeing all the images together. You are so talented and such a a wonderful friend. I love you and cherish our friendship. xoxo

  2. Mara, thank you for posting such a loving and succinct tributes to Tiara, Tiffani and the entire family we both love. You knew TT in ways that I somehow missed, and your words capture her as deeply as does your photography.

  3. Mara, thank you for such a loving and succinct tribute to Tiara, Tiffani and the entire family we both love. You knew TT in ways that I somehow missed, and your words capture her essence as deeply as does your photography.

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