Former Access Press contributing writer Nicole Taras died August 2 at her Twin Cities home. She had been ill for several months. She was 45 years old. Taras was known as Nicole Roberts when she wrote for Access Press. She wrote the “Hello Nicole” advice column for the newspaper from June 1991 until
February 2002. She answered readers’ questions and shared advice on a wide range of issues centering on life with disabilities. She often wrote about the need for people with disabilities to be treated with kindness and dignity.
Another theme of the “Hello Nicole” column was that of encouraging readers to pursue their dreams. She also urged readers to be direct and open with others when discussing disability issues, as a means of promoting greater understanding.
Taras left the newspaper to pursue other writing opportunities. She was a prolific writer. Her writing included an award-winning play about her life, which was staged off-Broadway and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She also wrote news articles, prose and poetry, and blogged about her work.
She worked extensively as a psychic, animal communicator and healer, under the business name Relying on Joy. Taras did public speaking, giving talks throughout the region.
Taras was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy as a toddler. Her parents were told she wouldn’t live past the age of five years. She discovered her ability to telepathically communicate with animals as a young child and after that began communicating with spirits. By age 10 she was doing psychic readings. She frequently spoke and wrote about her out-of-body experiences, encounters with angels, healing and psychic connections.
In a letter released after her death, Taras stated, “Please know that whatever happened to cause my death, I am certainly not suffering any longer. I have absolute trust in the afterlife and feel excitement at the prospect of attaining freedom from this body and spending some respite time in the spirit realm. I know that probably sounds strange to some people but we all will have our day and it is as natural as birth and a guaranteed ticket to freedom.”
She is survived by her husband, Tyler Frank, and many friends and family members. Services had not been scheduled when Access Press went to press. Taras asked that memorial contributions be given to humane societies. She also urged that people eat a vegan or vegetarian diet as a tribute, because of her lifelong love for animals.
Access Press encourages readers to contact the newspaper when members of Minnesota’s disability community pass away. Obituaries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org If an obituary is not available, newspaper staff appreciate a funeral home or family member contact. Pictures of the deceased are always welcomed, preferably in electronic format. Email or call 651-644-2133 if there are questions.