Thursday proved to be an emotional day or I should say, the end of the day culminated in one much needed release.

It was about the desk, letting go, attachment, faith in humanity; and it was not really about the desk at all.

“I’ll be right back, I just need to pull my car up.” I walked out of the Goodwill store with a bounce in my step, a large smile across my face. I needed this lift in my spirit. I put my bag of Goodwill finds on the front seat, pushed down the back seats and laid out the sheet that I purchased to transport my new desk.

I walked into the store, the smile from my face now a downward crescent, the two customer service men that had carried my desk to the front, were gone. “Welcome to Goodwill, can I help you find anything.” The door greeter stood there with a smile.

“My desk! It was just here!” Tears starting welling up, my voice became strained, and then I couldn’t hold it in; I was sobbing and asked what happened to my desk, explaining that I had just gone to get my car to pick it up.

“A man just took it. He said he was your husband and was taking it home to you to see if it was what you wanted.”

I looked at the men in disbelief. “But, I’m here alone. I don’t understand. Someone took my desk!” I’m speaking through sobs, tears pouring out of my eyes. I just keep repeating, “My desk. I just want the desk.”

Finally, I give in to the situation and tell them I’ll be right back. I need to move my car back and that I’ll get the receipt for a refund.

I yell to no one in particular, “what is wrong with humanity! Why would someone do this!” I’m shaky and my driving is not steady.

By the time I come back, one of the customer service men comes outside to meet me; he says he thinks there’s been a misunderstanding. I listen. He thinks that the man took the wrong desk.

The woman that rang up my purchase explained that there was a woman that had put a desk on hold and her husband was supposed to pick it up. She thought there was a phone number on the call log. She said she could refund me and call me later. I asked if she could call right then, that I really didn’t want to come back, and I still wanted the desk.

I stood up front near the cash registers in a corner, feeling exhausted, with puffy eyes, runny nose. I was just thankful that I hadn’t yelled; I didn’t swear; I didn’t say anything mean.

The customer service woman came back with good news. The wife was calling the husband about the mixup to tell him to turnaround to take back the wrong desk and get the right desk.

On this day it had been a week since my uncle passed away. For the past four month’s I would understand how difficult the caregiving process is, especially with such an independent spirit, as my dear uncle. We knew that his health was compromised, that his 87 year-old body had caught up to him, his heart was weak, that somehow, his days were growing closer.

As difficult as it was, I am grateful that I was there during his last stage of life, that I was able to help him speak to the right people in the hospital to make his pain go away and administer morphine, so that he could have his wish for the end of the chapter of his life and to do so with dignity and comfort. There are so many details that play out in my mind. But what stands out is how important it was to be there in the hospital during the last days of his life and to just be there for him in general. There were many quick decisions, quick actions in order to make sure he was without pain, and making sure the family was there so that he would be able to say goodby before the morphine slowed his heart rate to a point where he woudln’t be able to respond or open his eyes.

As difficult as this experience–this journey was, I have gained more from it than words could possibly convey.

I am honored that I was able to participate in my uncle’s care, that although we had our moments, because we always did when we didn’t agree, I felt that I contributed to his well-being. I know that each of us interacted with my uncle in different ways. I saw different sides of my brother’s–not always good; and I’m glad to have seen a side of myself that I knew was there, but that I had not had the opportunity to see in this particular juncture of life.

Goodnight, dear Uncle. I know that you are in peace now.

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