By Michael Armijo

When I was growing up I had a great friend named Todd. When I would go to his house his mother taught us so much structure. We would sit down eat a sandwich a few chips two Oreo cookies and a glass of milk. When I asked for more which was overindulgence she would explain “two is enough”. We would eat together and function as a family. My childhood with Todd taught me structure.
I had a friend named Craig. Craig taught me about business, computers, repair and marketing. He taught me maturity and friendship. My time with Craig taught me intelligence.
I had a friend named Stephan. He reminded me of Tony Soprano and would always say “come to papa” when I was sad or struggling. Stefan taught me you can be tough and tender.
I had a friend name Mike. Mike taught me about family and how to be a family. He encouraged me to be a good husband and a good family man.
I had a BFF named Jeffrey. Jeff was a sheriff reserve. When I first started my company 17 years ago he encouraged me and helped me represent what I was trying to do, as I was nervous and insecure. Jeff taught me confidence and generosity of my time. He taught me love and friendship.
I had a mother named Marie. She used to tell me on a weekly basis that she wouldn’t know what she’d do without me. She said that she will, and have, always loved me. She taught me that I was always loved.
I’d visit these people, which kept all of those “pieces of me” alive. These pieces that made me who I am, as I grew up in constant fear and insecurity. In a world of abuse and neglect. But constantly seeing these individuals would help me hang on to those pieces that are now a structural part of my life. Every person above unfortunately has died within the last few years. I came to the realization that I believed when they died those pieces of me died with them. So I found myself empty and not knowing who I was anymore.
It’s interesting how we subconsciously react to tragedy. We don’t realize when death comes it affects us all. Loss is not just for a few individuals, loss can sometimes mean people change unknowingly. Uncontrollably.
Fortunately, now, I have discovered what has transpired. Now I must remember these are not losses, but instead, gifts.
So now as I reflect on the many wonderful memories that I have, I Will work on finishing the grieving process. I must begin to start enjoying my gifts. And I must be thankful and honor these people for the gifts they’ve given me. The pieces that make me, …. Me.

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