My Dad and I are the same age today.
My dad, Bobby Gene Tessereau, left the earth way too early by my standards. He lived here on the planet for all of 22,618 days from May 3, 1933 to April 5, 1995. That's 61 years, 11 months, and 3 days. He was 13 months old when his mother died at the age of 30. Essentially orphaned because his father was a lead miner with 5 children, he was raised by his childless Aunt Nellie and Uncle Harry. He was only 18 when his first of 4 children was born so he went to work to support his family with only a high school education. He would hitchhike to downtown St. Louis from Flat River, MO every week to work, live at the YMCA, and hitchhike back home again on Friday. Survival was the name of the game. He did the best he could, but he never felt it was good enough. He loved his wife and children, and he cared about helping other human beings. He had a brilliant mind, he was a perfectionist, he would have made a great attorney, he was always right, he always saw how things could be made better, and you could never win an argument with him. He made mistakes, and he knew it. and he suffered the consequences. Some of his loved ones were estranged and distant which caused him great sadness. He was in poor health for many years, and was always older biologically than his chronological age. He was divorced and living alone in virtual poverty when he suffered a stroke and passed after several days in a coma. In a self fulfilling prophecy, he had told me he would have to die before retirement age or he would not have enough money to live on. I believe he had more to give, and receive, from life. I still love and miss my Daddy.
Today I, Thomas Alan Tessereau, am the same age as my Dad because I also have been on this planet earth for 22,618 days from September 18, 1953 to August 21, 2015. That's 61 years, 11 months, and 3 days. I am using this auspicious time to reflect on how all the hard work and sweat and tears that my father expended for my benefit have helped to form the person I am today. And today, I'm grateful. And I can admit now that I am a lot like Dad. I have made many mistakes and suffered the consequences of my actions. I, too, only have a high school formal education. I am a perfectionist and always see how things can be better. I, too, love my wife and all of my 6 children. I, too, am doing my best, which often does not seem good enough. I, too, am saddened that I am estranged and distant from some whom I love dearly.
But, unlike Dad, I'm not done yet. My life isn't over. How long I will be here remains to be seen. I have opportunities Dad didn't have. My expertise is in health and wellness. I make different choices nutritionally and know how to handle stress. I have already overcome several serious health conditions using the holistic integrative medicine that I teach. Incidentally, I originally began studying natural medicine hoping to help my Dad, not knowing it would lead to a career and a life of helping countless others. I am biologically younger than my chronological age. I am enjoying a loving and committed marriage relationship and have all that I need materially in this moment.
And so right here right now, as I reflect on Dad's life, I am committed to savoring each and every moment as a blessing. As an opportunity to be a good father, husband, son, brother, teacher, therapist, business owner, mentor and friend. Opportunities to say "thank you, I'm sorry, I love you, I forgive you, please forgive me." Moments in which I can teach and learn and share and grow and heal myself and others. True to my Christian roots, I will love God and my neighbor. True to my Buddhist studies, I will help to relieve suffering and bring happiness to all sentient beings.
Every day now is another precious gift from the Divine that my Dad did not get to experience. True to what I teach, I remain, to the end of my life, willing to learn and willing to change. With love and thanks.
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