Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 03-11-2008 by
Sara Rose
Tessa Marie Horan
March 20 1981 - February 1 2006


Tessa Marie Horan was born at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the first day of spring, March 20, 1981. Her parents are Kristena Prater and Kevin Horan. Her siblings are Nikki, Xavier, Devin and Jazie. She died on February 1, 2006 on the island of Va’vau in the Kingdom of Tonga, where she was volunteering with the Peace Corps.

She was attacked by a tiger shark while swimming in the ocean and died within a few minutes.

Tessa was honored in the Buddhist tradition, (the spiritual practice with which she felt the most  resonance) and cremated in Santa Fe, surrounded by all who had come to embrace her strong loving vitality.

Tessa grew up between Aspen, Colorado, and Santa Fe. Her connection with the outdoors began with family skiing, water sports and then school team sports. She was an avid soccer player throughout her life and was playing the game just shortly before going in the ocean where she met her death. She was on the Ski Team, active in swimming, and eventually became part of the Santa Fe ski patrol. River rafting and kayaking were passions, as well. Tessa was known as one of the best female river rafting guides in New Mexico. She became a NOLS Instructor (National Outdoor Leadership School) in 2003.


She was earthy and natural and beautiful. I never once saw Tessa in make-up, heels, glitzy clothing or waving around an attitude. She was one of the most grounded , gentle, humble, rootsy people I've ever known. She loved frogs. When I lived in Santa Fe, ( when Tessa and I were between the ages of 12-18) I remember how she would doodle little froggies in my notepad. They always had these great, quirky grins that would make me smile every time I looked at them. She had a wonderful sense of humour and wasn't afraid to be a goofball, which I loved about Tessa because I am a big goofball and we had great times as kids being silly and putting on homemade plays for our parents ( and our own) entertainment and doing funny voices and making silly faces in the mirror. I sure miss you Tessa.

I find it to be so interesting and synchronistic that the day Tessa left her physical form was Imbolc, a very important day in the ancient Celtic calendar. ( and Tessa had Irish heritage on her fathers side)


This day belongs to the goddess Brighid, who kindles the fires of creativity and regeneration. A Nature Goddess associated with Poetry, Healing, Childbirth, Inspiration, Fire and the Hearth.




 As a time of the year associated with beginning growth, Imbolc is an initiatory period for many. Here we plant the "seeds" of our hopes and dreams for the coming summer months.

  Since Imbolc represents a return to liveliness and all the bounties of Nature, we might best grasp the concept of Imbolc by thinking of it as a Thanksgiving celebration for what is about to happen. 

Just as the Spring Equinox ( Tessa's birthday) signifies the birth of spring,  Imbolc is like the anouncement of the conception of the Spring life that is soon to be born, or, in Tessa's case - reborn.

Imbolc fills us with the joyful anticipation of new life to come.

It is as if Tessa is saying,

"Don't grieve that I have died, Rejoice that my spirit will be born, new and fresh, into the next dimension."



Here is a song Tessa wrote that is a beautiful and poignant reflection who who she was and, I believe, still is.

Her soul is Eternal!


"I know, I know, I know a place where we can go


Sunshine, shadows

Raining, wind blows

I can show you which way to go


Winter, snowing

Sunset, glowing

Longing for that place we call home.


I know, I know, I know a place where we can go


Beautiful, lonley

The water purifies me

Don't you know the Earth's calling us home


Music, comforting

Raindrops, feeding me

Singing my soul softly to sleep


Sowing seeds, perfectly

Positive, energy

Will always grow inside you and me


I know, I know, I know a place where we can go


Waterfalls, gently

Sounds of love, soothing me

Grandmother moon surely smiling


I know, I know, I know a place where we can go


Trampas peaks, glittering

Opening my heart to things

I will always remember fervently."





And we will always remember you fervently, Tessa. xoxoxo


Please also visit Tessa's website    www.tessahoran.com


I've known Tessa since we were babies and she was like a sister to me. I miss her very much.


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