History is replete with the metaphor of maltreatment; it is the silent graves that cannot speak, anymore, which haunts a nation’s soul. It is a reminder, of sorts; a way of understanding and revisiting the history and essence of a nation – of the westward expansion and the decimation and systematic thievery against a civilization that was doomed from the start. But trails soon get overrun by either settlements or city construction; and tears quickly dry up so that the agony of a peoples once felt become a mere memory told in narratives and tales by old men and forgotten women who no longer matter.
Reservations were demarcated and a defeated populace was shuttled into forgotten corners of the world, left to sputter amongst themselves in wallowing memories of defeated battles and violated treaties; and, as modernity replaced the fading residue of an inglorious past, only the diaries and annotations of eyewitnesses maintained a memory of coherent violations otherwise set aside to make room for future time. Does each one of us, in addition, have a trail of tears? Do we shed them in the privacy of our scorned thoughts, left to the isolation of our own destroyed lives?
The Medicine Man of yore could not stop the onslaught of that which we deem “progress” and “modernity”; and in the end, it was modern warfare that doomed any resistance to change. The medical doctor of today, like the appeals of yesteryear to the Great Spirit, can only stem the tide of a progressive and chronic disease; the methodology may have changed, from fasting and foreboding fortunetelling to pharmacological modalities and surgical intervention, but when a diseased body or mind continues to deteriorate despite such intercession, the personal trail of tears follows a parallel course of those we once trampled upon.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
There are always historical travesties, as well as personal ones. In this world where history barely catches the fancy of those who must contend with the tides of an uncaring world, it is the personal trail of tears which is most important to each individual, and not the “grand scheme” of events which we can neither control nor foresee.
History is what it is – acts committed by ancestors, certainly, but ones which most of us could neither control nor protest against. But that which we can determine – like the destiny of a future for a Federal or Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition that continues to debilitate and constrain – should be accomplished within the confines of the laws which predominate, lest one’s personal trail of tears begins to parallel that of a past now long forgotten.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire