Love Among the Ruins
Twice Dominic was placed in foster care. When he was 12, Laverne petitioned for his return, and a family court judge was about to grant it, when Dominic asked to speak to him alone. In the judge's chambers, he described in detail the night his mother molested him. "It was the first time I had ever mentioned it," he explains. The judge gave his grandmother full custody, and Dominic never lived with Laverne again.
"That ended the abuse right there," he says.
For Marilyn, the stark records finally helped her understand her husband. She no longer harbored any doubts about his story. And for Dominic, the evidence of his mother's hellish existence allowed him to begin resolving his own past. "She was a tortured soul in ways he had no idea," Marilyn says. "She had no control over her life. [Realizing] that was his salvation."
With the documents at his elbow, Dominic began to write a chronicle of his abuse and redemption, which he self-published last year as a book titled No Momma's Boy. A chapter at a time, he revealed the secrets he'd guarded all his life. Turning them over to his wife to read and edit marked the beginning of the conversation she had craved for decades—and the end of his life on the run. "She felt that [writing this book] would help me, and it really has," he says. "I can tell you this: I have forgiven my mother and now I would love nothing more than to give her a hug and tell her, 'I love you, you're my mother, and we can move forward together.' It took me a long time to understand this. I feel for the first time in my life that I can breathe the fresh air.
"I'm enjoying my children, my wife," he adds. "And I'm happy. For the first time in my life, I'm happy."
"We have turned a corner in our relationship," Marilyn says. "Everybody in the family has been touched by this. And we're finally seeing our way through it together."