Wise Old Owl

Most every morning, after I brew my half-caf coffee, I make my way to our second-story porch overlooking massive oak tress in our back yard. A brackish creek meanders beyond the trees, hidden from view. It harbors Florida wildlife, red cardinals, blue jays and finicky squirrels scampering about in search of acorns from the oaks. And then there is the grey owl, whose distinctive call is not a hoot, but more of a “coo “, a very loud coo. Hearing her “coo” gives me an eerie sense of mystery and awe.

I relish my time on our porch, remembering our daughter Theresa, who is represented by a small green woven owl, which has embroidered on it, “I am Loved”. The owl always perched in Theresa’s bedroom centermost on her pillows. This owl was not alive, but a symbolic remembrance of our loving daughter.

I pick up the embroidered owl and lay it in my lap. I sigh, often cry, and remember the special daughter we lost. The owl doll represents her as well. Soft, beautiful, all knowing, and wise.

Daughter was ‘Old Soul’

Theresa demonstrated characteristics of an “old soul,” her deep insights into human and spiritual truth, and her ability to converse intelligently with anyone, on any level on any subject always left me in awe of her. In her late 20’s, her life began to spiral out of control.

Theresa became obsessed with her physical body and her health issues. Her health issues involved her gut, and she became adamant that her gut was causing all her emotional problems as well as all her problems. If she could fix her stomach problem, all would be well.  No matter what treatments she tried, nothing was able to a solve her gut issues and therefore she remained ill, especially in her mind.

Were her physical issues really a mental illness?  Without a proper diagnosis, we could not provide the missing link.  As she lived on, she became more obsessed with her gut. She decided a fecal implant would cure her, so she got one and she said it helped, but then she ran into obstacles getting scheduled for another one. Another dead end, and more misery for her and me and her family.

Mental Illness Took Her Life

Her obsession grew larger and then she became paranoid that someone was after her. This is where in our history, I grew fearful and weary, because I knew this was serious mental illness. I couldn’t get her into treatment. I flew to Houston to do an “intervention “for her. We arranged for the mental health officer to take her to a county mental health center for an evaluation.

She agreed to go; I was a bit optimistic.  After she road off in the front seat of the ambulance, I went to get a bite to eat. I was served but before I could eat, my phone rang. Theresa was being released. Within 30 minutes, she had convinced the admitting clerk that she was OK. No threat to anyone, including herself.

Sacred Object

Then on Sunday morning, December 16th, Theresa went missing. No note, no call, no word, except her landlord texted me and said she didn’t return home Saturday night. I felt peace come over me like I had never experienced. I can’t explain it except that my soul knew she was finally at peace.

She took her life on a grassy knoll near her apartment and was discovered by the owner of the business who owns the property where she decided to end it all. With the owner’s cooperation, we planted a crepe myrtle and laid at its roots a plaque. “Theresa, you are Loved”. The owner recently sent me a picture of that tree and it’s grown mightily into a mature shade tree, offering love and comfort to those in need. Theresa, You will be in our hearts always!

Learn more about Rev. John Beerman here: Unity Community Church – A positive path for spiritual living (unitydunedin.org)

Read more about suicide: Coping With the Loss of a Teen by Suicide – Open to Hope

John Beerman

Rev. John Beerman, M.Div., is a unity minister serving Unity Community Church in Dunedin, Florida. John has been active in leading Unity gatherings since 2010, serving ministries in Loveland, Co. Austin, Texas, Colorado Springs, Anderson, South Carolina and Medina, Ohio. Teacher, author of inspirational essays, workshop leader – John conveys and lives Unity truth principles in a way that is transparent and spiritually awakening, using his lively style and dry sense of humor. Before leaving his business career for fulltime ministry, John was an employee benefits sales consultant serving insurance and retirement needs of corporations, individuals, and non-profit organizations. He also served as member of the National Health Insurance Association, and a volunteer fund raiser for the YMCA and other nonprofits. John currently co-facilitates a support group for BPD survivors, and a centering Prayer and Meditation group. “My focus in ministry is transformation, creating an environment ripe for spiritual awakenings, allowing the Christ to come forth in everyone.” John is married to Charlotte Garrett, Licensed Unity Teacher, and Prayer chaplain trainer. Charlotte is a retired civil servant, whose most recent position was Chief of Resources at US Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs. John and Charlotte have four children and eight grandchildren, they enjoy hiking, pickleball, travel and spending time with their grandchildren.

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