It is something that we leave behind. Yet, unlike a wallet, a watch, a piece of jewelry or a troublesome child better left forgotten, we don’t have an opportunity to go back and get it. We say of that laundry list, “Oh, I need to go back and get it” (except maybe of the last in the list, whom we hope will be adopted into a kindly family and simultaneously also leave the parents behind); but not of the legacy.
No one ever says of that, “Oh, I left my legacy behind, and I need to go back and get it.” Instead, it is intimately bound up with mortality, our sense of the future minus our own presence, and a dominant desire and urge to “leave a legacy” behind, as if to do otherwise will diminish the memory of one who has now departed, will soon be forgotten and will populate the mass of unknown graves without tombstones littering the earth beneath ivy and weeds that overwhelm.
It is often money itself, which is soon spent and forgotten; or a special “something” that one remembers another by, which is placed in a drawer and also quickly, easily and without conscience soon forgotten; or, perhaps a more lasting imprint of some residual effect – a poem, an antique car (otherwise referred to as a “junk heap”), or the family farm.
Whatever the legacy left leaving lasting latitudes of lost loneliness lacking love’s longing for lengthy locutions (sorry for the alliteration, but it cannot be helped), it is something that is left behind, cannot ever be retrieved, and may or may not have a lasting impact upon the person or groups of people for whom it is intended.
Then, one can stretch the meaning to include a more modern interpretation of the concept of a legacy – of one’s own. That is a paradigm of a “legacy” in the more common usage – of a memory of one’s life, of what kind of a legacy will one leave that will be remembers by others – that you worked yourself to death and didn’t spend the time with your kids (refer to the above, first sentence herein, where that may be a blessing), your wife or friends? What is the point of an empty legacy of that sort?
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to think of one’s life, health, future and legacy, especially because a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of one’s choice, the consideration of preparing, formulating and filing 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, is often and intimately tied and bound to the fragile nature of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s life.
Struggling daily with a medical condition while trying to contend with a contentious Federal Agency or Postal Facility is not only “not fun” – it is, moreover, a futile exercise that diminishes the legacy of one’s life as a greater whole.
The “legacy” one leaves behind, indeed, is not like a wallet, a watch, or a piece of jewelry; but it is like a child left behind, where regrets for the future may yet be corrected, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to focus upon one’s health and future orientation that can no longer include the current job one occupies, preparation of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, may be the next best thing to a legacy yet to be considered.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire