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Jack P.O.V

At first Jack thought it was just bad parenting.

He was only 11 years old when he began to notice his ma changing, and to be honest the changes were so small he almost didn't think of it. To his young mind she was just getting old, misplacing her keys and phone constantly, forgetting the names of people, places and sometimes asking him the same question maybe 3 or 4 times in the same day. Frankly he found it annoying, but he loved her too much to tell her.

Megan was 17 at the time but she didn't notice anything either. That was mostly due to the fact that she'd moved out of their house after an explosive argument with their Ma about her latest in a long line of boyfriends. Ma didn't approve, she thought that the young Irish lad drank too much to be worthy of her daughter but Megan claimed it was love and therefore she wasn't around to see her mother's slow descent into an illness that would follow her around for the rest of her life. But Jack was there. He saw it all.

The first time he really noticed something was wrong was when his Ma forgot about his 12th birthday.

He woke up early that Tuesday morning, filled with the childish excitement that came hand in hand with becoming a year older, especially when it came to his family. You see, birthdays were special occasions in the McLoughlin household and Samantha enjoyed spoiling her children rotten when they came around. It was mostly to make up for the fact that her relationship with their dad was so messy and that she barely got to spend any time with them because of her work but Jack didn't really mind, he still looked up to her as his hero.

So when he found no present at the end of his bed, no smiling mother to be seen and no pancakes freshly cooked for breakfast, he had never felt such disappointment in his entire life. His, now 12 year old, self dragged his feet as he entered his ma's bedroom to find her snoring quietly, still completely dressed in her nurse's uniform with an empty mug of coffee held limply in one hand and an open book in the other.

He had poked her softly, not wanting to scare her and she woke herself with a little groan and a wrinkle of her nose, a sleepy smile on her face when she realized it was her little blue eyed son standing beside her bed. She drew a hand through her wild curls before a loud yawn ripped through her. "Aww hey Jack, you okay? Didn't have a nightmare, did you?"

"It's my birthday Ma! I'm 12 today! Did you forget?" He'd asked quietly. He'd felt so dejected and he knew it showed on his face.

She'd looked so fucking horrified at herself that Jack immediately regretted mentioning it at all. Sam had brought her hand up to her mouth, eyes wide and fully awake now before she slowly climbed out of bed, placing her hands on her son's shoulders. She still had that mortified look on her face when she calmly told him to sleep while she made some breakfast. Jack watched his Ma walk into the bathroom and heard the lock slide shut behind her as he snuggled up in her bed. He had felt so guilty for leaving his mother looking so panicked.

Jack soon forgot all about the incident, putting it down to his mother getting old. Megan moved back into their house for a couple of months after her last boyfriend cheated on her and she was accepted back with open arms. Jack was happy for those few months, enjoying the feeling of waking up and having his sister there to laugh and joke with before he had to run to school; celebrating Christmas with his whole family and not just half of it. Their Ma still barely got to spent time with either of them but at least Jack wasn't alone all the time. It was nice for a while.

Sadly though, things quickly turned sour and Megan and Sam began to fight again, loud and angry screaming carrying through Jack's bedroom door almost every night. Megan was sad all the time and Jack didn't understand why. His Ma said that her old boyfriend treated her really badly and that this was the result but Jack couldn't understand why Megan didn't smile anymore or why she never wanted to talk to him. It hurt him so badly to see her like that but having no idea how to help her.

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