Faith unified Moneé Roston, a CNA in the Pain Clinic, and her husband, Antoine, a pastor and business owner. In 2003, the couple opened the Rapha Temple on Linwood Blvd. “Rapha” means healing in Hebrew. They were planning to open a new church when the events of October 29, 2017, put their plans on hold.
At 1:30 a.m., Moneé awoke with an uneasy feeling. Everyone was home except Antoine, who drove for a transportation company. In less than an hour, Moneé would get the call that turned her world upside down. A hospital chaplain called with the news her husband was shot while dropping off passengers at a bar in Liberty.
When Moneé first saw her husband at Truman Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma center, she was not prepared for what she saw. Three bullets damaged Antoine’s face and shoulder. One bullet destroyed his mouth and his ability to eat and speak. A second bullet impacted his shoulder and paralyzed his left arm. A third bullet went through his ear. Any of the three bullets could have killed him if they had just moved a millimeter or two. The first night a six-hour surgery stabilized his condition. Four more surgeries would follow over the next few months.
When Antoine woke up on Day 4 from a medically-induced coma, Moneé remembers the uncertainty in his eyes. “I told him he was shot, and he started to cry. Because his jaw was wired shut, he couldn’t talk. When you take away my husband’s voice, it’s hard because he loves to talk,” Moneé laughed.
After a nearly three-week hospital stay, Antoine transferred to NKCH to begin physical and occupational therapy. The rest of his healing would take months and be measured in small victories.
Those victories allowed Antoine to heal, so he could return to work as a driver. Moneé remembers the six months where he could only eat soft foods as his mouth healed. Therapy allowed him more range of motion in his left arm. His feeding tube came out this summer.
Through it all, Moneé and their three children, Zhané, Miyon and Antoine, Jr., have been by his side. As a caregiver in the Pain Clinic for over 16 years, Moneé can better appreciate the difficulties that families experience when they come for help. “After what my family went through, I want to give even more to people. I know I am in the right place to help,” she said.
Over the last 11 months, Moneé sees a difference even in the youngest in her family. During Antoine’s recovery, the children helped with cooking and household chores. “I think we have all matured and have even more appreciation for life and family. We don’t take things for granted.”
One thing that Moneé never took for granted was her faith, which only strengthened after the shooting. The tragedy reaffirmed their desire to build their own church. “God met our every need. Thanks to my coworkers and other people we were able to pay our bills. We are forever grateful, and now we are on the journey to recovery,” Moneé said.
As the one-year anniversary of the shooting gets closer, Moneé still becomes emotional remembering that night. “He shouldn’t be here today with the injuries he had. He easily could have died,” Moneé said.