“A tough pill to swallow”
Jack was 15 when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He remembers it being “a tough pill to swallow.” Still, he thought she’d surely get better.
Initially, the treatment was successful. “It was like winning the lottery—we were ecstatic,” Jack recalls. “It was the best thing ever to see your mum beating cancer and going back to work.”
But the cancer eventually returned, and slowly spread throughout her body. Despite his mother’s strength and determination, it was becoming “an unwinnable battle.”
Meanwhile, Jack went off to university in Dublin. It was his first time living away from home, though he’d visit on the weekends. But it was also stressful to balance his social life with the academic pressure. Eventually, he dropped out and moved back home.
“It was nice to be back because that was when Mum’s illness got more serious. I could help around the house and be there as much as possible.”
Jack spent the next two years working at the cinema and helping out his family as much as he could. He tried going to university again, but couldn’t connect with his studies. He was constantly worried about the situation at home and felt like he was “burning the candle at both ends.”
Then his mother passed away. Jack was 21.
Jack dropped out and returned home once again.
“That’s when the shit hit the fan. Like, is this what life is about? I didn’t want to be stuck in university. If life is so precious and so short, I needed to find something meaningful.”