In an instant, Rosie lost her whole world because of a mentally ill, vengeful man and a legal system that fails domestic violence victims time and again.
“People would initially say to me, ‘You’ll never get over it,’ and I would feel so overwhelmed with the thought that I would feel this pain for the rest of my life,” she admits.
Today, Luke would have been a 21-year-old man, perhaps studying at university, maybe planning to travel the world with his mates from school.
In the years since he was cruelly taken away, his mum, now 61, has been through the whole gamut of emotions: guilt, anger, regret, disappointment, indescribable grief.
But one emotion Rosie has somehow been able to muster even in her darkest times is courage.
This has allowed her to speak up and be a voice for other domestic violence victims around the country.
“I knew from the vast number of emails and letters I received that the biggest systemic failure to so many people was the family law system,” she says.
“People would reach out in the desperate hope that I could intervene, and it was heartbreaking.”
From the most harrowing experience of her life, Rosie was able to dig deep and find the strength to be the champion for those who needed it most.
She campaigned for laws to be changed and raised awareness of the devastating impacts of domestic and family violence.
It didn’t bring her son back, but it was assurance that he “did not die in vain”.
Rosie’s efforts earned her the honour of Australian of the Year in 2015, but by February 2018, she had shut the doors of the Luke Batty Foundation.
She’d made such an immense impact for the cause but desperately needed time out to heal properly, away from the public.
“You do have to find a space where you’re comfortable in your own self and not rely on other people to try to fill a gap,” she admits.
“You know, no one can really stop the pain.”
Time has healed some wounds, but it’s been a long, emotional journey for Rosie, one she has captured in her new memoir, Hope, which will be released in April.
“A lot of people talk about grief being like waves, where it hits you and just comes over you,” Rosie explains.
“At first, the waves come thick and fast and it’s really quite a storm, and then they may become less frequent.”
For help in a crisis call 000. If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636