So much life left unexperienced
Shawn was a sweet kid growing up, who was loving and altruistic. He was a handsome young man with two older siblings, a brother and a sister. Shawn was kind-hearted and exceedingly supportive of others. He loved spending time with his loved ones and was known in his neighborhood as the ‘Mayor of Maple Avenue’ for always lending a helping hand. “He used to help the neighbors plant flowers and once helped a friend rebuild his house after it burnt down,” recalls his mother Marianne.
Shawn appreciated being outdoors and especially loved four wheeling, hunting, and fishing. From the time he was born he had an adventurous streak, “One time when he was younger, I locked him in his bedroom for naptime as he was a wanderer, he pulled every drawer in his room out and had strewn his clothes all over the place,” laughs his mother. He could also fall asleep anywhere, even while he was eating pizza, which was his favorite food. Shawn was a funny kid who had a charming grin and a contagious laugh. He also had a love for animals, especially his teacup poodle, Lacy.
Shawn was not very fond of high school; he studied in a trade school for construction, which he enjoyed. Shawn also liked cooking and experimenting with foods and spent most of his time working in kitchens. He loved Italian food and worked at a local restaurant, but his genuine love was his mother’s scratch made spaghetti. Shawn’s biggest accomplishment was buying his own car, a Jeep that he loved. He had dreams of one day maintaining his sobriety, owning a house, getting married and having children.
Shawn especially loved his mother, “There were plenty of times throughout rehab and jail when he wouldn’t be allowed to have a phone and would send me letters, but anytime he could get a phone he would be sure to call me. And no matter how bad he was feeling, he would text me to tell me goodnight and that he loved me,” says Marianne. She says that his addiction made him less fun and took away his friends and the lifestyle he wanted; and for her, it was like being in a constant state of fight or flight, that made her unafraid to go after him no matter the consequences.
Marianne also confesses that nothing has been the same since Shawn’s passing and that even on beautiful days there is sadness; every day since his death, she has written to him in her journal. She has established a grassroots group in Altoona, PA called Families United for Change that advocates for those suffering from addiction and their loved ones. She has commissioned a sculpture in a local park for the Circle of Hope Project that commemorates those that are currently struggling with addiction.
Shawn’s mother, Marianne Sinisi, provide the information for this narrative.
February 12, 1992–September 4, 2018
Age 26, lived with the disease of addiction 9 years.