Caring for something other than myself took my mind off my problems

October 1, 2023

“I have been coming out here every morning for five years. It started when I was quite ill. I came up from the country to see the doctors in Dublin. I never married or had kids, so I had nobody with me. The doctors wanted to amputate my leg, but I was against it. What was my future? I started coming to this park to console myself. One morning, a blue heron landed beside me. I said, ‘You are in as bad a shape as me’ and bought him a tin of sardines. I went to bed that night and felt better knowing that at least I did something positive that day. I returned the next morning, and the heron landed beside me, like he was asking for his breakfast. I kept feeding and talking to him, and he waited for me every morning. I walked to the park twice a day to care for him and the ducks. Caring for something other than myself took my mind off my problems, and I started walking and exercising. Over time, my leg got better. I’ve already walked about six miles this morning. I also feed the birds at another park.

My father died when I was four years old, and I started working when I was 12. I had a career as a messenger for an engineering firm, and I was always on the road with little time for anything else. Caring for these birds and talking with the people I meet in the park gives me purpose.

My name is Brean. It’s the Gaelic form of Brian.”
The past week has been Souls stories from across Ireland.



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