The Magpie Story
There are many stories and supersitions connected to the magpie, there's the nursery rhyme 'One for Sorrow' based on the number of magpies you see determining whether or not you will have bad luck.There are those who salute 'Mr Magpie' believing it will bring them good luck and Folklore suggests magpies steel shiny objects. All of these are outdated but I recently found a story for modern times. It is the story of how a magpie brought harmony to a family devastated by the paralysis of a wife and mother who fell from a balcony while on holiday, and how it helped her through her subsequent depression and struggle to come to terms with what happened.
What first brought this heart-warming story to the attention of the public were the photographs taken by the family of "Penguin", the magpie, and shared on social media. The images are touching and sometimes comical - they became an instant hit.
The story is about a lady called Sam Bloom. Following her initial rehabilitation in Thailand, she returned home to her family in Australia. It was only when back home she faced the reality of how life would be now, paralysed from the chest down. Sam had always been an active 'outdoors' individual, she has a husband and three young sons who watched helplessly as she fell into depression and despair. By her own admittance there were times when she thought her death would have been a better option.
A couple of months later a magpie fell from its nest into the path of her youngest son. He brought it home, the family contacted various animal shelters but no one would take a wounded baby magpie chick so they settled on taking care of it themselves. They were prepared for the practical side of looking after this baby bird - feeding every two hours, cleaning up the mess but not for the emotional and healing benefits this vulnerable bird would bring them.
Penguin became a focus for Sam and close companion, they were both healing and he became her confident and who she turned to share her struggle. Sam believes caring for Penguin helped her through the darkest times and got her to a place where she was more able to cope with her situation.
Her husband captured images of family life with Penguin that couldn't fail to melt the hardest of hearts. Now the family have revealed the full story behind the social media images and how their feathered friend "saved" their family.
For me it's a story of human kindness and compassion - responding to the suffering of others (even a magpie!) that motivates a desire to help, which in turn, can have a positive impact.
Sam is now one of Australia's leading para-athletes.