Our Life: May Day

By Michael Armijo

May Day is what alarms me. Not because of the significance in history, but the beginning of another “bad memory” time in life. May Day was a traditional day of celebration for laborers across the world, but can also be remembered as a distress call from someone in despair. For me, May Day wasn’t so kind.

ROUND ONE: A few years ago right before Cinco de Mayo, my buddy was going to the hospital. A simple surgery, not to last too long. Maybe a few days in the hospital. It was a “check” on something protruding from his kidney. Not life threatening, more like an exploratory procedure. Well, something went awry, and the laparoscopic procedure went to a surgery. All seemed fine until my dear friend was in deep pain.

Doctors thought of it as a reaction to a “first surgery,” that my friend had never been cut open so his pain was foreign to him. So they discounted his pain as “usual.” But there was nothing usual about what happened. It wasn’t until the morphine didn’t help that he ended up in ICU.

That night they did a CT Scan and found they had accidentally nicked his intestine, which led to his body becoming septic and he suffered from multiple organ failure. But the doctors were hopeful and he seemed to be recovering.

The next morning around 5 am I texted his wife “how’s mike doing?’ Her response was devastating. “He passed away.” I was in such disbelief that I had to go into my daughters room and ask her if I had been reading the text correctly. I thought maybe I misunderstood. I did not. He had passed and there was nothing we could do about it.

ROUND TWO: I remember eating a home made Cinco de Mayo dinner and then making a plate for my father to enjoy. I only lived a block away so I walked over there and gave it to him. He wasn’t feeling well, gestural intestinal problems left him with severe stomach pain. He was like a warrior in battle when it came to illnesses. So I wasn’t too worried. But what I didn’t know that this was the last time I would see him alive. The last time I had an opportunity to give him a hug. Of course I took the opportunity for granted and passed on the hug. Always thinking tomorrow will always be there.

The next day, my parents anniversary, they fought and he left. My mom called me late at night that he wasn’t there. So I proceeded to find him at his rental property in Artesia. After the police and the paramedics came, I was left to wonder why life ends so abruptly. And am I spared?

So May Day has a new meaning that each year I think about. I used to dwell on it and let it affect me. But as the years have passed, and the mistakes have taken their toll, I am left to accept the fact that life does change. It moves on. Sometimes it’s a sad day, but many times it’s a new beginning. It all depends on our outlook on life. It can be that we are looking for the next adventure within our lives or that we can sulk and dishonor the memory of those who have passed by being destructive with our emotions. Selfish with our actions. Self centered about our intentions. Harsh realities can sometimes allow us to redefine a time we can turn a call of distress to a time of celebration. Making it an enjoyable time I now call May Day.