How do we know a person’s sorrow? Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary? Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.
There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow? Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes? But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?
Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade. Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake. The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken. For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.
For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career. There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire