From the very start, Tiffany lived her life with a raw honesty that is as rare as it is disconcerting. She had no filters. She spoke her own truth. Many people could not handle it. Moreso since the her personal power was so disconcerting coming from such a tiny, California beach babe blonde.
She was a lifelong student. Her superior intelligence was aided by an enviable work ethic. Her dad tells about her first day of kindergarten. Tiffany came home and immediately sat down to do her homework. He never once had to tell her to do her homework. She always did it. Daily.
Tiffany loved animals. She went to the University of Alaska to study biology. Some of her happiest days was working with musk oxen and caribou. She wanted to work in animal sciences.
Yet despite her intelligence, raw honesty, and hard work, Tiffany had a very tender heart. She was extremely protective of my daughter, Judith. She treated Judith as a little sister, giving her advice and defending her from bullies. Judith loved this cousin who was closer to her age than her own siblings.
Tiffany had spent several holidays and summers with our family in Idaho. We missed her last summer when she stated in Alaska to go to school. We have all been waiting for Tiffany to come home.
But Tiffany suffered from a terrible disease. She had clinical depression. On the day after Thanksgiving, she killed herself. Way too many people have posted that she is now at peace. Suicide is not a nice, tidy solution to depression. It is a huge, giant failure on the part of friends, family, and the community, especially the medical community. Depression should not be fatal. Tiffany should not be dead.
Her death is the most painful, devastating event of my life. Tiffany should not be dead. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and loving. She should be sharing this gifts with the world. But a person suffering suicidal depression cannot save themselves. But they want help. Suicidal persons want to live. They just need the proper support. Tiffany made several cries for help prior to her death. Unfortunately, her friends were too overwhelmed or too ignorant to get her the help she needed. Personally, I shall always feel the burden of her death, the sick knowledge that I should have done more.
We are all grieving and missing Tiffany. Yet there are moments of complete denial. As Judith said to me, “In my heart, I am waiting for Tiffany to come home.” And I realize that I am also waiting for Tiffany to come home. Certainly she will always have a place in my heart. Love you Tiffany, Aunt flip