Goodbye Jack Madro
by Connie Brisson ~
The first time I ever heard the name “Jack Madro” was at my daughter, Gabrielle’s 8th birthday party.
The all girls party was held at the local gymnastics club and afterwards we went upstairs to have pizza and ice cream cake.
As all the energetic girls crowded around me to get their piece of ice cream cake, I decided to have a little fun and I told them that they couldn’t have any until they told me who Gabbey had a crush on.
Well, ice cream cake is a powerful tool of coercion and it only took a second for all the girls to sing like a choir. And the song they sang was “Jack Madro.”
Gabrielle was horrified that I did that but it was an indulgently honest mistake for a mother (interested in her daughter’s life) to make.
Still, it wasn’t until a few months later, when I was walking down the hallway at her elementary school, that I heard someone call “Jack” and I immediately said: “Oh, so you’re Jack.” Yes, that was mistake number two, mother, because in doing so, I inadvertently let Jack know that he had been a topic between Gabbey and I. And again, Gabbey was horrified. But, in my defense, being a mother isn’t always that easy and sometimes we do things without realizing how tender the romantic hearts of the young are.
Because Gabbey was one of about 24 kids (in her grade in Morinville) that were in French Immersion, this particular group of kids remained the same for the remaining years until they reached high school. Although Gabbey’s crushes came and went, she had a core group of friends that mattered to her and Jack was one of them. It was in high school, when many teenagers are trying to figure out who they are, that she started to see that Jack was really struggling in his life, but then again, they all were struggling in their own way…
I remember her telling me about one particular incident, and my heart went out to this boy, Jack, that I barely knew, because he seemed lost and maybe even broken, but we’ve all been that at least once.
So when I walked in the house a few days ago and Gabbey came down the stairs crying incoherently, telling me someone had died, I didn’t expect her to say Jack Madro. She was in shock (she has only experienced her grandparent’s deaths and a girl she knew from school but was not close to) so losing this friend was devastating – not only because they had been friends for so long but also because it was uncertain whether it was an accident or not…
As a mother, it was shocking to me too. I think the first thing I thought was, “Is there something I could have done along the way?” And truly, I think everyone is asking the same question.
Gabbey hadn’t seen Jack for almost two years (since a party that happened before COVID-19), but she really hasn’t seen many people since this pandemic began, spending most of her time in her bedroom glued to the computer while taking Visual Communications at NAIT.
As we spoke about it more, Gabbey said that although they didn’t see each other or talk all the time, they were “safe friends” who were there for each other whenever they needed each other.
Then she said that Jack had send her a Snapchat message just a few days before his death and they talked about how hard life is right now. Gabbey said she told him it was crazy “how we’re all so connected and yet we’re all so lonely.” But, she said, nothing they talked about indicated that anything out of the normal was happening.
So, when Gabbey’s friend texted her (a few days later) to say something about Jack’s death, Gabbey couldn’t believe it was true. And, because she had just been texting with him just days earlier, she also questioned what responsibility she had in this. Then she told me: “I don’t know if I helped, but I certainly didn’t cause any hurt.”
I think tragic deaths (and certainly when people die before their time), these deaths impact so many more people than imaginable. This kind of dreadful loss touches us in a way that cuts straight to our souls whether we knew the person or not. But I’m certain that there is not one person who knew Jack that has not been affected by him or his life, and now by his death…
And I think that is true for all of us, whether we know it or not. Sometimes we don’t realize just how much we impact each other.
Gabbey has had an Instagram account since she was 12 years old (bestvdscenes) that now has more than 100,000 followers. The day after she found out that Jack died, she posted this on her account:
“Recently I learned that a friend of mine died and I’m still processing it, but I wanted to say something on this account to address it.
I want everyone to know that no matter what is going on that you are not alone. This world is so connected and yet so isolating.
The past two years have taught me a lot about life and the world, but more importantly the impact that we have on each other. No matter what, you have impacted more people in your life than you will ever know. Whether it be good memories or thoughts or bad ones. No matter what, we all matter and we’ve all been through struggles and tribulations (especially this year).
There is always someone who is willing to listen and wants to help, even if it feels like there is absolutely no one in this world who understands you or your feelings.
We are more alike each other than any of us imagine. And we are still here and for me that is the biggest accomplishment I’ve ever made.
Each day is a blessing in disguise and I am eternally grateful for all of my followers. If I can help at least one person with this, then I’ll be happy. Because no life is replaceable and everyone matters.
Love is the best feeling and emotion that we have and I want to spread that love as much as I can.
Thank you if you have read this and I hope you have an amazing day filled with laughter and joy.
Love Gabbey” ♥
I couldn’t have said it better myself and I’m so proud of my 21-year-old daughter’s beautiful heart and innate wisdom.
Goodbye Jack Madro. You will be remembered and missed by many.
THIS WEEK, ask yourself what you can do to help raise the spirits of someone you know is having a hard time (and that’s almost everyone these days).
What one thing could you do to bring a smile to someone’s face and to let them know that they matter to you more than they will ever know.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot – maybe you make someone their favorite dish, or bring them some flowers, or just leave a heart note on the fridge saying something you love the most about them.
These are difficult days but we can help each other through this with acts of kindness and love.
Connie Brisson is the publisher and editor of Mosaic Mind, Body and Spirit Magazine since 2004. From a simple black and white newsprint format that began in 1996, she transformed it into a beautiful full color, gloss magazine that was distributed throughout Alberta, Canada until the end of 2018 (with a readership of over 100,000). It’s now evolved into an online magazine that continues to help people heal, transform and live their best lives. www.mosaicmagazine.ca