The One-Eyed Bird That Never Sang

And how he found his voice

Kendra Sparkles
The Narrative Arc
Published in
7 min readMay 9, 2023


Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

In another life, I worked in Human Services for over 10 years. During that time, I floated between different group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. I traveled all over several counties, helping out when staffing was low.

At one point, I was temporarily sent to work in a large residential facility that housed ten people with complex medical needs. It is there that I met a bird so sad and neglected he couldn’t even sing.

On my first day, I walked in prepared to empty ostomy bags, purée dinners, and carefully measure liquid nourishment for feeding tubes. That was the technical part of my work, not the part that kept me in a very underpaid career field. The part I loved was forming relationships with each of the home’s inhabitants.

This house was no different. The residents were wonderful. I loved going to work and spending my days with them. This story is in no way a reflection of those ten beautiful people, as they had nothing to do with the unfortunate circumstances I walked into.

As the days went by at my new job site, I started feeling sick when I left at the end of my shift. Not because any of the home’s inhabitants needed me there. I…