Rock on, Rock! We miss you.

Below is the post that I wrote on my brother Rock’s birthday in June. I’m reposting it today, because I don’t have another post in me right now.

Today is the eighth anniversary of Rock’s death. I miss him every day, but today is especially poigniant because I’m thinking of his kiddos – my nephew and niece, Scott and Kathryn.

This will mark the first time that they’ll be alone on August 30th. Each of them are away at college – Scott in his second year, and Kat in her first…away from each other, and from their Mom. At first, I worried that they’d feel they no outlet for their grief and so that would make it worse for them…

But then I remembered.

I remembered that Dawn, their Mom, has done a remarkable job in raising them to be strong, caring, independent young adults. I remembered that they each have wonderful qualities of their father in their personalities. I remembered that they have handled the past eight years with the kind of inner strength and composure that many adults would not have been able to summon. I remembered that these kids are LOVED. And I knew they were going to be okay today. But, I still wanted to do something for them…

So, I started a Group Playlist HERE. With a quick, free signup, anyone can add songs and comments. My hope is to share music with Scott and Kathryn that reminds us of Rock – of funny, happy times that we can recount to them. Maybe share a snippet of their Dad with them today as they prepare for their first day of classes tomorrow. If you can contribute to the musical memories, please do.

(Then join me in lifting a smile and a cold one for Rockfish!)


When God was handing out Big Brothers, I got really, really lucky.

My brother Rock played with me, even though I was six years younger and a girl. He taught me to ride a bike, and stuck up for me when older kids teased me about the training wheels. He was patient, kind and very sweet to a lil’ sis who followed him everywhere. He was strong and handsome. He could sleep at the drop of a hat – standing up, even.And…the dude was FUNNY – holy cow. Hilariously so.
He was a great Dad to two wonderful children. He was a great Uncle to my sister’s kiddos. He’s going to be a great Uncle to Liam, too…because Liam is going to know all about Uncle Rocky, in detail. I’m going to make sure of it.
Y’see, Rock was a Navy SEAL, too. A damn good one, by all accounts. And, he passed away in a parachuting accident August 30, 2001. I really miss him – especially when I look at Liam and see a faint “Rocky espression”. (They’re there on occasion…afterall, they ARE related.) I wish Liam and Brian could have met him.
We have pictures of Uncle Rocky (or, Uncle Wocky) in the house, and Liam has known who he is from the beginning…just like Nonna Florence and Poppa Aubrey. And, he knows they live in Heaven. It’s not a sad thing – at least, I’ve tried really hard not to make it so. We have his cousins Scott and Kathryn and Aunt Dawn here to love. And, we have stories…because Rock was a character, that’s for sure! There is no shortage of “Rock stories”.

  • Like the time he forgot his house key after being out with the guys in High School, and climbed into my second story window…scaring the bejesus out of his 11 year old sister!
  • The time when making pizza that he got a bit overzealous in tossing the dough and stuck it on the ceiling. (Mom was not pleased…)
  • The time on a trip to NY to see our grandparents that I got carsick in the back of the station wagon, where Rock and I were camped out with pillows and blankets. Rock nonchalantly offered to hold my head out the back window so Dad wouldn’t have to stop. Dad thought this was a great idea. (Mom and I were not pleased…)
  • The time he broke his ankle playing soccer, and thought he could keep the information from Mom and Dad. I must say…he gave an Oscar caliber performance, until Mom noticed that his ankle was the size of a small cantaloupe. (Again…she was not pleased…)
  • The time during an Army-Navy game in Philadelphia that he wore a Camelbak into Veteran’s Stadium underneath his shirt…filled with rum.

There was plenty about Rock to celebrate, because he was a great guy. So, on what would have been his 48th birthday, I’m going to laugh and be happy thinking about fun, silly times. We’re going to make some Happy Birthday Cupcakes for Uncle Rocky, and say extra prayers for him tonight.

Because Liam isn’t going to miss out on Uncle Rock.

His Uncle Rock was larger than life. :)

First haircut from Grandpa Dominic. Cute lil’ fella, huh?

Already a SEAL, at the tender age of nine.
(Our Dad was a SEAL, too.)
We had matching cammos -I was almost three there.
April, 1970
Rockfish and RiRi…early 80′s.

HooYah, big bro.

Love the shit outta you.

6 Responses to Rock on, Rock! We miss you.
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