Tessa Eileen Meeks joined our journey on August 27, 2014. She was hosted in the home of her parents Zane and Shari Meeks with her big brother, Noel. Not long after Tessa’s birth, she was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and was not expected to leave the hospital. Ten days later, Zane, Shari and Tessa left the NICU and headed for Bondurant, Wyoming with a 3-6 month life expectancy. Despite the odds, Tessa blessed our family and friends with 3 ½ years until she ran into Jesus’ arms on February 4, 2018.
While mom and dad were at work, Tessa was cared for by many. For the first several months, Kay Meeks snuggled with Tessa as she strengthened. In April of 2015, Barb and Dave Harper opened their home to offering full-time daycare. Tessa loved to read, especially the rhyming books that Barb would get from the library every week and she loved all genre of music (including a little irish jig!). Barb spent countless hours with Tessa, taking her swimming weekly at the Pinedale Aquatic Center, daily walks to the Post Office, weekly visits with Deb in Cora, and weekly therapy with the girls from the Learning Center and eventually with Sue at ProActive.
At home, she loved rockin’ in her chair and bouncing on the floor with her piano. She eventually learned to “pretend” she was tired around 8pm so she could get to her crib and bounce for hours before falling asleep after 10pm. She was usually the last one to fall asleep in the house! We will never forget the way she smiled and was giddy when her brother would drop to the floor and play with her. She loved her dad as he was one of the few to roughhouse with her; whether he was hanging her upside down or rolling her across the floor…she was all smiles and giggles. He never treated her like a glass that could be broken. Tessa loved when her mom would dance with her around the house. They were not just mother-daughter, they were best friends. They spent many hours together, whether it was in the car traveling to and from Pinedale, at home cooking or tending the house, or at church in the nursery. Tessa enjoyed the presence of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends whether they were babysitting her or at parties and family gatherings.
Tessa was never left behind in the family shenanigans and experienced life to the fullest. She went everywhere with her family; rafting down the Hoback, swimming at Granite Hot Springs, family vacation to Minnesota, camping, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, bike riding, kayaking, hiking, Cutter races, spending time at Togwotee and cross country skiing. We will never forget how Tessa’s smile persuaded the carnies at the Teton County Fair to let her ride the Ferris Wheel. They were instantly smitten and let us ride several times for only a couple of tickets. How she loved that ride! Tessa cheered her family on; whether it was her brother bowling, wrestling, or mutton bustin’; her dad ropin at the rodeo; or her mom dragging her around to half marathons and triathlons (that she had no business being in!). Tessa had no fear and loved to be swung upside down by her ankles. She was relentless and a fighter and she proved these qualities by beating so many tough illnesses and never showing pain despite persistent ear infections.
Tessa was always drenched in the love of her family and those that took care of her during her time here, but it is pretty obvious that she impacted and blessed us far more than we could have ever blessed her. She lit up a room with her smile; her eyes so deep and always chasing angels. Tessa didn’t play by the rules and defied all the odds she was given. Her life was not defined by Trisomy 18, in fact Tessa showed us glory in the midst of brokenness. She was the key to opening the door where God could wrap our family in the cross. Through various trials and illnesses, good times, and other situations, she constantly displayed grace, God’s mercy, outlandish strength, enduring love and persistent faith. She never wavered and was faithful to the end.
Tessa was met in heaven by many family members and friends that had preceded her in death, including her paternal Grandfather Noel Meeks and paternal Great Uncle Phil Engler, and paternal Great Uncle Howard Meeks, cousin and dear friend Mitch Robertson as well as several other relatives. She is survived by her father, Zane Meeks, mother, Shari Meeks, brother, Noel Meeks, grandparents Tammie Meeks, Ron & Sylvia Rockvam, uncles and aunts Joe & Sara Meeks, Scott & Crystal Rockvam, and cousins Holden Dana, Anna Meeks, Bryne Miller, Chloe & Christopher Rockvam, as well as great uncles, great aunts, cousins and various extended family members.
We will honor Tessa with a Celebration of Life on February 24, 2018 at 11am at the Heritage Arena in Jackson, Wyoming. It is a casual and kid-friendly service meant to bring JOY, just as Tessa did during her stay with us on earth.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Just Do What Matters (https://justdowhatmatters.org/), in Tessa’s honor.