It is a sinking feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a sudden realization of the empty back pocket that then leads to a feeling of panic. Or of reaching and finding that the purse that is so carelessly hanging from one’s shoulder, or looped over a forearm — is not there. It is the nonexistence of something that suddenly brings to existence the sensation of fear, emptiness, loathing — and resultant panic. Whether of the variety where the pit of one’s stomach becomes queasy, or of a disorientation of being, matters very little.
We can try and describe it, but we all recognize it without ascribing and identifying the precise word that depicts the reality of such extinguishment of existential reality: The lost wallet, the stolen purse, the sudden void of that which we have taken for granted each day; and the subsequent sense of the consequences that ensue.
It is not just the trouble of future replacements; the calls to credit card companies, the trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the irreplaceable photograph tucked into the side pocket of the wallet (sorry for showing one’s age — of course, no one keeps such passport-sized photographs in a wallet, anymore, as the anachronism of such a deed has been replaced by the “saved” pictures in that ethereal “cloud” within each Smartphone so that, even if the phone itself is lost, it is never truly lost because it is forever kept in world of downloadable albums) — no, the loss is exponentially multiplied by a sense of having one’s identity violated, and of feeling that an event has occurred where something essential has been extracted from our very existence.
The lost wallet inevitably leads to a first impression of panic; but as panic is a natural reaction, it is what we do next that matters most. And like the Federal employee or Postal worker who first realizes that he or she suffers from a medical condition, and over time, senses that the medical condition will not simply “go away”, it is the steps that follow upon the news first learned that will have the significant impact upon one’s future livelihood.
Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that “next step” after the foreboding sense of reality has first been experienced. And like the lost wallet that will need to be replaced, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the needed replacement for one’s career; and while the replacing features may not be as good as the health one once enjoyed or as lucrative as the career one previously pursued, it is a new identity that will be needed until the lost wallet is recovered in some future image of a past relinquished.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire