Murdered son put me on the path to happiness

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RAEGENE’S STORY APPEARED IN ‘IT’S FATE!’ MAGAZINE

When RaeGene Roseberry’s son was shot dead on her birthday she thought life couldn’t get any worse… until it caused a life-threatening brain aneurism and not even her husband would sympathise. While recovering in hospital, RaeGene realised she had to escape her controlling hubby. But with nowhere to go the idea became a dream. That is, until murdered Billy intervened …

Minutes after waking up on my 45th birthday the phone started to ring.

I answered with a smile stretched across my face. But it was hardly the morning message I expected.

“Have you heard from Billy?” one of my son’s friends spat out.

“Not for a few days,” I replied. “Why?”

“There’s been a shooting where he’s staying,” he stuttered. “I wanted to make sure he’s okay.”

His words didn’t register.

“I’m sure he’s fine. Let me make a few calls,” I said.

I tapped in the number for Billy’s girlfriend, 21-year-old Shelby, and pressed dial.

Panic started to seep in though when it rang and rang – she would have been with him.

And then I tried calling Billy’s best friend. Again, there was no answer.

As I bit my lip in frustration, I caught a glimpse of the TV on in the background. Billy’s distinctive trainers, shiny black and blue, were on the screen.

“Oh God, no!” I cried.

It was a news report on the shooting, not far from my home in Ohio, USA. And then came the words that sent a sharp shiver down my spine.

“A body has been taken to hospital,” it was announced.

Fingers now trembling, I called the hospital to confirm my worst fears. Billy, just 26, had been killed.

He was staying at a friend’s flat and was told to sleep in a roommate’s bed. He wasn’t expected home that evening. But the following morning Denzel McEwen, the 20-year-old owner of the bed, arrived home.

Billy’s friend, Nick Nye, and Denzel started to argue and Billy tried to calm them down. Denzel pulled out a gun and shot at Billy three times.

The first bullet went straight through his left lung, causing him to bleed to death. The other two missed. It was the 22nd December 2010 – three days before Christmas.

After hearing the news, I crumbled to the floor.

“No, not my son!” I sobbed.

My head started to pound with pain, but it was the least of my worries.

Needless to say, Christmas was a struggle. I spent it mourning with my surviving children, Johanna, now 30, Jonathan, 26, and Steven, 24.

After Billy’s funeral on 8th January, I was still suffering from strange headaches. But even after feeling something pop inside my head, my husband of seven years, Nick, now 52, refused to take me to hospital.

“You’re a hypochondriac!” he raged. “You just want more sympathy!”

It was a typical reaction from my mentally-abusive partner.

He even came home one evening after Billy’s death to see me crying, but instead of the hug of support I needed he just said “you STILL not over that?”

On 29th January my mum, Karen Mosco, 69, finally took me to Ohio State Hospital while Nick was sick in bed. And doctors soon discovered the reason for my crippling headaches – I’d had two brain aneurisms!

Vessels had burst in my head only to clot shut and pop again.

Within minutes I was being whisked away for surgery on the worst rupture. I’d have to return for the other.

The operation was supposed to be simple – they’d go through my groin to get to my brain and repair the damage. But, like everything in my life at the time, it went wrong.

I was being put into recovery when doctors realised I was bleeding on the brain again.

My mum was told there was a slim chance of survival. And even if I survived I’d be in a coma for the rest of my life.

So it came as a surprise when I woke up hours later to a handsome doctor staring at me.

“We thought we’d lost you,” he confessed. “Do you know where you are?”

“Yes,” I fired back.

“Do you know WHO you are?”

“Yes,” I repeated.

After a few more questions he skipped out to tell my mum the good news – I was going to be okay. But in my head I wasn’t. I felt trapped.

I had just lost my son, and would be returning home to a relationship that was anything but healthy.

I needed to escape. But where was I going to go? Who was going to have me? Especially now I was recovering from brain surgery!

While in hospital, I asked for my laptop. And nestled amongst all of the messages of support on Facebook was one from a man called Tim Scott, now 48.

“No, this can’t be THE Tim Scott!” I said to myself.

For the first time since Billy died I smiled.

Tim was my childhood sweetheart.

“I don’t know if you’ll remember me,” I read in a buzz of excitement, “but do you remember dating a guy called Tim when you were in high school?

“I’ve been looking for you for 25 years.”

I met Tim at a Sunday school when I was 15, but our close friendship fizzled out when I met someone else.

I replied to Tim saying I was married but not happily so and was looking for somewhere else to live.

Tim replied again. He cared for his dad, 80-year-old Joe Scott, in a big house in Ohio and there was plenty of room for me.

At the end of the message, he left his number.

The next day I was released from hospital and called Tim straightaway. It had been decades since we had spoken, but it felt like no time had passed.

“I’d spent years looking for you and never had any luck,” he said.

“But on my birthday, something told me to try one last time. I was literally arguing with someone in my head!”

That night he went to his computer and typed in my name. I was the first person that popped up.

On hearing his words, I knew who urged Tim to find me – Billy.

It sounds strange, but in the weeks after his death I could feel his presence.  I’d be at home and walk through a mysterious cold patch.

“It’s nothing,” I’d tell myself at first.

But the more it happened the more certain I was it was him.

It happened once when I was looking at messages of condolence on his Facebook page. I went into the kitchen for a glass of water and when I came back I sat down in another cold spot. It was like he was sitting there looking at the messages!

Billy’s last wish was for me to leave Nick. Was this his way of helping me beyond the grave?

During our chat, I arranged to meet up with Tim.

Three weeks later and I was hugging him outside a local steak house. It was that exact moment I knew he was ‘the one’.

I had another operation scheduled for six weeks’ time, but told myself that if it went okay I would leave Nick.

This time, luckily, the operation was a success. And just days later I found myself at Tim’s door, bulging bags by my side.

I called Nick later the same day telling him I couldn’t be with him anymore.

“Give me another chance!” he begged. “I know I didn’t treat you right.”

I’d heard it before though. I’ve been living with Tim properly now since February 2012 and couldn’t be happier.

We’re madly in love… and engaged!

“You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever known,” he said while star gazing one evening.

The next minute, he asked me to marry him.

“I would love nothing more!” I replied, diving into his arms.

We’re getting married in May and my children are thrilled.

Just two years ago I thought I had hit rock bottom. Now I’m in a completely different place.

Billy was telling Tim to get up and look for me one more time – the time I needed someone more than ever.

Billy’s watching over me now, and I can never thank him enough. He saved my life.

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