Regrets are priceless; they lack both a marketplace value, as well as a worth beyond applicability of accounting principles. The conceptual void of negation; the paradox of non-existence and nothingness; the chasm of obsolescence and absence where once perceptual conformity allowed for the revelation of a thing; these are all within the imaginative mind of the human puzzle.
What possible evolutionary utility can be ascribed to things that did not happen, could have, but never did, and where the pit of void in one’s stomach leaves a dissatisfying wanting of that which could have been? In the quietude of a sleepless night, when images of past concerns invade and prevent that final lull into a dreamworld of peaceful intent, those thoughts of missed opportunities, bumps in the night of moments forgotten by interludes of dusty memories once enlivened but now deadened with time and fading photographs darkened by degeneration of remembrances once clung to; in a twinkle of twilight, a sense of regret can pervade.
It has often been said that, on the eve of one’s deathbed, one never remembers the time of work unfulfilled; rather, we recount the time lost of things we did not do because we were too busy with work. Regret does not cull the graveyards of memories lost about parallel universes involving work left undone at the office; instead, it reaches into the bottomless chasm of simple recollections, like the hug that never was.
Medical conditions often serve as a reminder of important priorities, and tend to impose the sequence of one’s lives, reordering them into a listing of priceless artifacts, like uncut diamonds lost in the sands of time. Suddenly, one’s mortality is in question, and more than getting meaningless tasks done, the vitality of relationships come to the fore.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly recognize that a medical condition is beginning to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the sense of regret often accompanies the realization, but is also and just as often a misplaced case of loyalty. Why should fealty be sworn to an agency which is impervious to human suffering? How can a guilty conscience pervade when the Federal or Postal employee has already given beyond what is required, for years and decades already lost?
Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit open to Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes continuation with an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a legal criteria of proof of preponderance of the evidence. Guilt and regret should never be a part of the process. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an employment right, accorded by statute, and should be done once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that one cannot perform at least one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties. Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a benefit tapped into only through proof by evidentiary sufficiency.
And like the hug that wasn’t, the failure to file for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the negation of rationality when continuation in circumstances of employment only exacerbates the pain, prolongs the suffering, and extends the nightmare; leaving to wonder the capacity of the human animal, the quietude of regrets and the forlorn despair of the empty space left, when once we tried to embrace a loved one, but instead spent that time serving a master who had long since gone home to his family.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire