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SH's Alcohol Abuse: The Father My Son Never Got To Meet

by Shannon
(New York)

I myself abused alcohol for a time in my college years, and when drunk had an accident (not in a car) that left me with a spinal cord injury and permanently in a wheelchair. But this story is not about my drinking. It's about a man (SH) I met 18 years ago. He is my son's father. He's dead now. I just learned of his death which took place last year.

When I met him he was a new immigrant. He lived a hard life, worked long hours and lived in poor conditions. He was not a happy man. He wanted to go back to his country. He said he would do so, many times. He had a son there he wanted to be with. He said he would not marry again - my son's mother, he said. He drank a lot, which is common in his culture. Most of the time he did not seem drunk, as in staggering and slurred speech. But I don't think a single day passed without his drinking beer.

Then I saw him drink in the morning. He was still able to hold a job. He said when he went back to his country he would not drink as much and be "a little bit happy." He briefly had a car but I think something happened, and I think it had to do with drinking. I knew him for 2-1/2 years and I was 7 months pregnant when I saw him last. And then I never heard from him.

There was no internet then and he did not leave a paper trail. Through the years I searched for him. About 8 years ago a PI found a SS#, address in another state. I sent pictures there. A woman called me. She said she was his sister and he was in his country and was married with children. Then we talked some more and I got the impression it was not the same person. I was wrong. She lied (I do not know if she acted alone or on his request). So I kept believing he was in his country.

Until last month when I did a search again and found he was dead. Still not thinking it was the right person, I did a lot of research of public records and uncovered a story of a marriage (to his "sister", a stepson, either a daughter or stepdaughter (not sure), buying a house and losing it to foreclosure, a luxury car lease and losing that too when they went bankrupt, almost a divorce, a conviction for disorderly conduct... I got police reports with his photos on them and that's how I know it's him.

There were 3 DUIs and driving without a license in the years before he died. If he did not have a license with the first DUI there must have been others before that. I don't know the cause of death yet ... he was only 51. I don't know if he thought of me or my son throughout the years but I think he would have liked to have known how he turned out. I think he would have liked to meet him. But now it's too late.

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