Beautiful, kind, loving, giving, charismatic
Dominic was a loving, sensitive person with beautiful blue eyes and a warm smile. He cared about others and looked out for them, often giving food, money and cigarettes to people who were homeless. He was a good listener and always positive. He was good with technology and loved to make people laugh. He enjoyed playing golf, hockey and football and spending time with his nephews, playing hide and seek, wrestling, and giving them rides on his shoulders.
Dominic worked as a lifeguard for several years and as a pool manager for the public pools. He was also a landscaper and worked construction. He planned to become a licensed welder and wanted to make a home in Columbus, Ohio with his girlfriend, Brianna, who he planned to marry. He told his mom, Cathy, that he knew he was behind his siblings in terms of meeting his life goals, but he was going to get himself together and take care of her as she aged; he was a momma’s boy. Addiction changed Dominic’s goals and dreams; he became a slave to it and couldn’t break free.
His mom was a team leader for a support group for those struggling with addiction and their loved ones. He was proud of her involvement in the community and wanted to work together with her to provide resources and share his experiences with those who needed help. Unfortunately, he missed the first event they were to attend together because he used. She said: “I lost him shortly after that.”
While attending a support group meeting, after Dominic passed, his mom met an employee from the treatment center where he stayed for a few months. She told her that Dominic was positive, friendly and would help by sitting and talking with residents when they were struggling. One resident credited him with saving his life by helping him when he was down.
His mom says Dominic’s biggest accomplishment in life was “the amount of love he had for others and how much he gave of himself.” ‘Personal space didn’t exist for him, he would curl up on his brother’s lap and snuggle,’ he was that loving and close to his family. Like many parents in a similar situation, Cathy reflects on what else she could have done. “I feel like I have failed at the most important job I ever had, being Dominic’s mother.” ‘I have much more understanding and compassion for those who struggle with substance use than I did before Dominic’s addiction.” She has become an activist in her community, trying to educate people about addiction and how to get help.
Dominic’s mother, Cathy Bukowski, provided the information for this narrative.
November 25, 1994-September 3, 2019
Age 24-Lived with addiction 5 or more years