Remembering Rocky — husband, surfer, musician, father to be

It’s been a hard few months — first Tommy, then Robert and Bob and now Rocky. But please stay with me — this ends well, or as well as it could have.
I was first introduced to Rocky Green when he played music at a local church. His blues-inspired talent sent a sweet sound to the ear. Not much later he moved in with a mutual friend and I found that Rocky was a good surfer, his time split between music and surfing, things I don’t think he ever saw much of a difference between.
It has been about a year since Rocky’s music began to gain notice beyond the local community. Around that time I heard that he had been hospitalized with a brain tumor. Reportedly, the operation went well, and Rocky returned to his twin loves, adding another, a beautiful woman he had proposed to and eventually married, Jena.
The tumor returned attacking harder this time, until it had, apparently, won the fight for Rocky’s life on Feb. 25. He was 35 years old.
Last week was one of heaviness, as I sat at my desk with the realization that I would never again see Rocky paddle out at his local break, D Street, or hear him play another Encinitas coffee shop. I felt robbed and pleaded to the God we both serve for guidance. In response I heard nothing but the sounds of my own words and my broken heart ticking out brutal moments.
Since God was apparently silent, I turned to the Internet, to hear one final song. It was as if both God and Rocky had a duet planned for me, and I hit the first item in the cue, “Vapor,” where someone half my age spoke to me of the brevity of life. “Life is a vapor,” the words go, quoting James 4:14. I played it to the end, listening to Rocky’s words offered in comfort and joy. And while it didn’t make the pain go away, it did help make sense of a brief, well-lived life. Thirty, 50, 80 years — doesn’t matter how you trim it, life on earth is short, too short to waste on things less wonderful than the ocean, music, friends, family and faith.
We die slowly from a thousand tiny cuts, or live bold as a lion, roaring back at mortality. By all accounts, Rock Thomas Green lived boldly to the end, a light in a dark place that has not yet gone out.
At the memorial, held March 15, I watched a family celebrate a life worth living, as Rocky’s father, Tom, breathed words of life to those of us sitting waiting to join our friend eventually. Life is a vapor. Rocky took that vapor and condensed it into living water, something that many will drink from for years to come.
At this writing, Jena Green is expecting a child created in the union of herself and her husband Rocky. June will bring new life into the world as the music continues for as long as there is sunshine and rain. If you look closely, you will see the vapor trails, a little faint, just over the horizon.


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