Tara would’ve celebrated her 29th birthday last 6 August 2014…
In 2008, just a few hours upon the arrival of her birthday, on her way home from a gig, inside a speeding jeepney traveling along the cold highway — a thief shot Tara. A highway robbery had gone awry.
Bullet fragments had embedded themselves inside her head, and for almost one year she was stuck between the realms of life and death, struggling to break free from the grip of Thanatos.
People witnessed her struggle, hoping to see some gentle stirrings from her eyes and fingers. Though she was basked in coma’s breath, she was never alone. She had friends and family (and even strangers) who were always by her side during her difficult ordeal. Funds were raised from gigs, online petitions crying out for swift justice surfaced, and even poems, reflections, & letters were written online to raise awareness on the matter.
But despite their efforts, Tara never made it. She died in July 2009, just a few days shy of her birthday.
I never knew Tara Santelices personally, but her unfortunate situation had somehow affected the way I see life, death, and living. Tara was an amazing artist, she had a band and was a young cinematographer. But the fates had other plans, which lead me to ask why such painful circumstance was given to someone with so much promise, and on her birthday. It was all too cruel, too unfair.
And so since 2008 I’ve been reflecting on her life, the people around her, the absurdities of everything. And I reflected and wrote and remembered, and again I reflected and wrote and remembered. This year I was able to finally end my pondering, and had compressed my thoughts into poetry: aTARAxia.