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Mom Wanted To Die, Until This Little Magpie Saved Her Family

You might recognize Instagram star PenguinTheMagpie, but what fans didn't know was the heartbreaking story behind these beautiful pictures.

It happened suddenly while the family was on vacation in Thailand.

One minute, Sam Bloom, an Australian wife and mother of three boys was standing on the rooftop terrace of their hotel on the Andaman Sea, and the next, she was gone.

Sam's husband, Cameron, heard the horrifying crash and as he turned around, his wife was lying on the concrete floor, two storys below. When Cameron and the boys reached her, Sam had bitten through her tongue and she was unconscious.

"She had this huge lump on her back and I realized that she had probably done some really horrific damage to her spine," Cameron tells BBC.

They knew she was alive, but they didn't know if she would survive her injuries. As hot tears rolled down his cheeks, her oldest son, Rueben asked his father, "Is Mummy going to die?"

Sam's prognosis was grim, as surgeons looked at her X-rays and monitored her blood pressure she could tell that things were not looking good for her.

Her skull had been fractured in several places, her brain was bruised and bleeding, her lungs had ruptured and one was completely collapsed. Worse, her spine was shattered below the shoulder blades. Doctors delivered the devastating news: she would never walk again.

Sam survived the surgery, but that was just the beginning of her struggles.

Sam fell into a deep depression and for six months in the hospital, she cried almost every day. The return home was just as difficult: everywhere she looked, she was reminded of a life she couldn't have  - one where she surfed and ran along the beach.

"I actually did wish I'd died," says Sam.

Then a chance encounter with a baby magpie turned her life around.

Sam and her boys were on their way home from a visit with her mother, when her middle son, Noah, saw that a baby magpie had fallen on the ground.

The two-week-old bird would require daily feedings every two hours, but the family wouldn't give up on her. As she grew, little Penguin became a source of joy and company to each member of her surrogate family, but especially to Sam.

"I loved having her around because she was like company," says Sam. "She was pretty much on my lap or on my shoulder from the moment we brought her home. She was just company and she'd make us laugh."

She was special company to Sam, who found a confidant in the little bird. "I would talk to her, I'd whinge, tell her how I was."

Like all wild things, Penguin was born to be free. When she was old enough, she began to spend more and more time away, until about year ago, she left for good.

Cameron says that the little bird saved his family. "Sam was in an incredibly dark place when she came home and when Penguin arrived in our lives it changed the mood in the house. It changed Sam dramatically."

"Oh I loved her," said Sam "I absolutely adored her."

Sam got through the physical and emotional pain of her injuries thanks to her family, exercise and the friendship of a bird - "Angels come in all shapes and sizes."

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