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January 2022

And then there was Dom…

There are some people you meet in life who are all show and sparkle and for a good time call, and then there are some people you meet in life who are solid and responsible and always doing the right thing. But imagine these two together? This is my Dom. My Dom is what people would call a *stand-up* kind of guy. The kind of guy you want to take care of your pets when you’re on holiday. The kind of guy you want your daughter to marry, you know, if you had a daughter. The kind of guy you want your kid to be friends with. And that’s what Dom was for me. A forever friend to Luke and now a forever friend to me. This is our story.

I first met Dom on the Pop Warner football field. I don’t exactly remember what grade the boys were in, but they played on the same team. We didn’t interact much, I was only a sideline cheerleader after all, but Dom’s parents sat faithfully together for every practice and game, and as team mom (shocking, I know!) we would chat every once in a while. The Spinellis were from Paxton, so once the season ended, our paths didn’t cross.

Imagine my surprise, a few years later, when we found out the Spinellis had moved to Rutland! It was seventh grade and Dom loves to tell the story about how on his first day of school at Central Tree, he ended up alone at a lunch table. He remembers Luke, surrounded by all the cool kids and beautiful people, standing up, and yelling, “Hey Spinelli! Get over here!” In that instance, of giving Dom a place at the table, and an immediate friend group, Luke earned his loyalty. Dom and Luke would travel in the same pack after that. Dom had his first experience getting trashed at our house (boy, did I rip them all a new one! UGH) and at Dom’s, Luke encountered one of the only men he was ever truly terrified of pissing off in Dom’s dad, Eric. He’s a pussycat, truly, but at least there was one house where I assume Luke behaved!

After Luke passed away, Dom was one of the first kids to come over and spend time with me. He just wanted to make sure I knew how he felt about Luke and told me lots of wonderful stories of times they had shared together with their friend group, laughing and being jackasses. I will always remember sitting in the sun with him that day. He just made Luke seem larger than life to me and I will always be grateful for that moment.

Dom would continue to show up in my life as we remembered Luke. For graduation this talented young sir made a sticker for the kiddos to put on their caps to honor Luke. Administration almost got in the way, but the kids persevered and made it happen, regardless. I love the pics they sent me that day and it felt like Luke was with them one last time.

After that, just like in the Carly SImon song, I simply had to call out his name and he was there. Need someone to design a tee shirt for the King of the Courts tournament? Dom’s on it. Paint the basketball court? Also Dom. Need a bartender for a special night to honor your friend’s book release? Called Dom. AND he earned himself a mention in the sequel, lol. Volunteers for the Knex tournament at BES? Dom was there. Short on substitutes at school? Dom would love to help out. Any event for Hope Lives Here? Of course, he is coming. Most recently, we needed fresh eyes on our marketing committee and when I approached Dominic about it, he didn’t even hesitate. I have learned, since Luke passed away, that life is about showing up, and despite his incredibly young age, this kid gets it. He shows up for the people he loves… and we love him for that.

So my sweet Dominic, on this, your twenty-fifth birthday, I want you to know how incredible John and I think you are. You are my hockey loving, golf fanatic who swears like a sailor and loves to do shots. You are smart, my Wentworth grad, and one heck of an artist. You have the biggest smile, only overshadowed by the size of your heart. One of your best friend’s says he wishes he could be as positive as you are and we all wish we could be the kind of friend you are. And did I mention you were handsome? lol You are one heck of a catch. I love you, Dominic Spinelli. May the Universe grant all your wishes. You, my forever friend, have earned it. Xxx

I need you to know