Where do we go from here?
Whether that means regarding now that Rolando is no longer with us, physically; or what comes next now that the so-called pandemic is winding down; or will we get physically involved in the war between Ukraine and Russia; or regarding any of the many issues that face this country, this community, or even just this paper — the Las Vegas Tribune — questions will always remain unanswered.
I can’t begin to tell you where we’ll go from here about anything. We can make our best guess about anything or everything, and maybe we’ll be right, but maybe — like so many other prophesiers — we’ll be way off.
We made a guess about how many might show up for Rolando’s Memorial Service, but we were way off. We know that many of those who would have wanted to show up, didn’t — for whatever reason. Maybe they didn’t get “the memo,” so to speak, or read the issue of the paper that had the details for his service; or perhaps they lived too far away or their schedules conflicted in some way.
I don’t feel that those who didn’t or couldn’t make it stayed away because they didn’t care! And perhaps they even have regrets for not being there now that they know it was held this past week. From what I know about other funeral or memorial services, most people do not get personal invitations. With all the things that the family (and that of course includes those who jumped in and by virtue of being close to the deceased, offered to help in whatever way they could) had to do, writing up personal invitations to all those Rolando would’ve wanted to show up at his service would’ve been a bit much.
When a person dies, it feels like a very final thing, such as it is. We know we will not see that person again in this life. Whether or not the deceased can really know if you were there or not at his service is not the issue; the issue is, how will you remember him?
I believe that in the hearts of so many who did not come there lives a little spot of regret. Maybe the words “If only I had known” or “I didn’t find out until too late” or something of that nature are written on that spot. It won’t be the first or only time this has happened to one of us.
We are all thankful and grateful to those who did show up, and especially to Steve Sanson who took over the MC duties for the person expected to perform that service. That’s one of the things that those who loved Rolando do — they step up when needed, even without being asked.
We can’t undo the past or redo his memorial service, but any of those who wish they could have been there or have anything to share with his sister, Perly, now, please feel free to send me any comments and I will pass them on to her. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of the above who didn’t make it, here are a few of the words I chose to say at his service:
…Rolando had just suffered one more devastation to his paper: sales personnel who didn’t understand, believe in, or practice the concept of honesty and loyalty to the Tribune. They not only stole money from the paper, they managed to steal advertisers as well. He was at a low point, yet still believing in the work he was put here to do, he spoke of the future and finally asked me if I’d be willing to work one week without pay, since at the moment there were no funds available to hire me…
After hearing Rolando’s story, and getting a feel for his dedication and determination to keep the Las Vegas Tribune alive, how could I say no? He not only was charming, but I could sense his sincerity and honesty. The only answer I could give him was YES.
And I started work the next day…
I had been editor for several small and somewhat obscure publications and felt I could contribute something to a paper that appeared to exist for a higher cause: to expose corruption in this town, and to give anyone who had something worthwhile to say a voice and a platform from which to say it. …
In the last few months of his life, it was getting harder and harder for him to get up out of bed and do what he felt he had to do, yet he did it, right up until that option was taken away from him by the overseeing hand of fate when he was hospitalized for his health problems and would never be able to put pen to paper — or hand to keyboard — again. …
We often spoke of what would come next, when that time came, and the one thing he always hoped for was for us to continue the paper the best we could without him. And not being afraid of death, nor wanting to fight the Grim Reaper when it was time to go,
We often spoke of what would come next, when that time came, and the one thing he always hoped for was for us to continue the paper the best we could without him. And not being afraid of death, nor wanting to fight the Grim Reaper when it was time to go, he put himself in Perly’s hands that day he needed hospital care, and ultimately in God’s hands, as we all must, for our final curtain call.
And my love went with him, but the good news is — I know we’ll meet again!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at email@example.com.