Sitting down to write this...


Sitting down to write this has been on my to-do list for weeks now. For some reason though, I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. I don’t know why, or maybe I do. Maybe this update carries a weight that is difficult to bear and hard to put on others. The thing is, it also carries with it beauty and hope. 

As many of you know my mom passed away in November. A year prior, after we were told her time was short, I put what I could on hold, spending as much time as possible with mom and the rest of my family in Salt Lake City. We took care of business. We went on a dream vacation to Hawaii. The Cubs won the world series. Mom tried radiation. Trump was elected President. We made it through the holidays. Mom did some traveling. She went to see friends. She came to see me. Mom spent July 4th with Brenna and I at our home in Portland. Mom insisted that we go some place to watch the fireworks. We sat in lawn chairs, part of a most picturesque July 4th celebration and watched the fireworks explode over Lake Oswego. A few weeks later, Brenna and I were back in SLC to celebrate Mom’s 59th birthday.  We sang, we laughed, we cried. There was one candle in the cake. My brother said it was one candle for every year we didn’t think we’d have. 

Tara and her mom standing in front of a lake with mountains in the background.

We watched the solar eclipse from Mom’s hospital room window, passing around a single pair of glasses I’d stuck in my carry-on. Mom’s pain was now too great to manage, signaling it was time for hospice care. The shift into hospice ushered in my turn as primary caregiver and for all of us, the hunkering down began. There were good days and bad days. But most days were good. We fell into routine and developed a new normal. Close friends and family came. We had fun. A lot of it. We laughed. We laughed a lot. My aunt baffled many a friend when reporting how much fun she’d had visiting her dying sister. Stories were told, lifelong relationships were built and goodbyes were said.    

Now comes the starting again, and this is harder than I expected. I think maybe that’s why writing this update has been so challenging. In some strange way announcing my return to music feels like admitting it’s really over. Admitting that she’s really gone.   

Music was always a passion Mom and I shared. She taught me to sing and we were often asked to sing duets for special events at church. She taught me to play the piano by writing the note letters on the keys with a pencil, and put me in lessons as my curiosity grew. She encouraged me as I began to write music and found resources to help hone my skills. She joined the band and sang backup at my first CD release. Throughout my music career she has always been my biggest fan. 

Tara playing piano and singing. Her mom leans against the piano singing with her.

It is so strange to continue in this pursuit without her and yet somehow she's closer than ever. These days as I sit to play the piano I feel her playing along with me. When I sing I hear her saying, "I'll take the high part" and feel her voice singing through me. That may sound crazy, but real or imagined I cherish these moments. I know that she is with me, still encouraging me, still helping to hone my skills. Most importantly her voice ever reminding me of the power of mine. The power to heal, the power to inspire, the power to facilitate change. 

So after over a year it's time to get back to the music, and I'm excited!  Before this break I began work on my next album and I'm thrilled to get back to what I honestly feel is the best music I've created. There's still a lot to be done but can't wait to share these songs with you!! I'm also excited to finally start putting down roots in the Portland music scene. Stay tuned for upcoming shows, new releases, and live stream concerts as I kick it in to high gear. I’ve got so much up my sleeve!

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Remember, we were made for love.

Much love,



Image captions:

image 1 - Mom and I on our hike up Bell's Canyon, May 2017. 

image 2 - Mom and I entertaining the other guests during happy hour at the lodge. Snowbird, UT 2013. 

1 comment

  • Shane Smith

    Shane Smith United States

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