The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A New Chapter

Last Monday, a new chapter in my Navy career started. I came home from work and opened the mail, as usual. I found a letter from OPM, the Office of Personnel Management. These are the folks that were deciding on my Disability Retirement. My application had been out of my hands for about five months. Now I don't want anyone to think it takes that long for one person to make a decision. There were a number of stops, endorsements, and forms that had to be completed for this process to be complete. Just the same, OPM received my application, with my doctor's endorsement and ALL of my medical files pertaining to my Parkinson's and Dementia, on 24 September 2009. In any case, I was VERY apprehensive to ope the letter. I thought it strange that the letter was sealed with adhesive tape. Also, the envelope was very bulky. My first thought was, they have denied my request and asked for more information. But, I opened the letter, and boy was I shocked. The first line of the letter read; " Your request for disability retirement is APPROVED. I was overwhelmed, I did not know how to reply or react. My wife was worried about my expression and thought I had received bad news. Then I told her that OPM had approved my retirement. She was happy, relieved, even ecstatic.

Why was I in such a state of disbelief? Well, for the last few years, in the back of my mind, there was always this little thought that I was not really sick, this would go away, I would be fine. I believe doctors call that denial. This letter proved that I was not going to get better. This IS my fate. So, it has taken some getting used too. After 40+ years, I no longer work for the United States Navy. That is a shock! Last Friday was my last official day at work. Now with the Christmas holidays, I don't really feel like I am retired. But, the first Monday after the New Year, it's going to hit me. I really don't know at this time, how I will react. Maybe I will finally relax and enjoy myself. I hope so. Time will tell.