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The Countdown begins...
obrien4j
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:12 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


And so the countdown begins to retirement and my new journey to acceptance. I've decided to retire on May 1st, rather than finish out the year. For various reasons, it is in my best interest to retire now. The Catholic girl in me is already feeling guilty-I'll officially be disabled, unable to work ,yet in otherwise good health. I'll get a pension, get to have the Margarita by the pool,and be ok-sounds like it should be illegal. 

Anyway, I'm thinking about how I'm going to leave- what to say to my boss and colleagues, how do I say goodbye to my kids? I want to be silent in my departure, yet at that same time,  I want to disclose my disease, making people aware that regular people like me can have memory loss.  I have a lot of thinking ahead, wanting to put it out there to my colleagues but then thinking that I just need to keep it quiet and move on.  I am totally conscious and fully aware of my surrondings. I feel  relaxed in my environment,  feel pretty good in general,. There are moments of great sadness in knowing that I have this disease  and that I will die from it. I will need a new purpose. I will need my friends to help  me get thru this-it's been 34 years in education, that was my place. I can walk away, , but I'll need a new fight- - I'm an advocate for the underdog- and for all of us on this journey.  We need to be heard so that a cure for dementia is found. How many people will srtuggle because of this disease? How many more will be diagnosed ? 

So now I await disability and hopefully, their approval. Monday I will finalize my retirement as well as my disability from school.  I will talk to my boss and begin to clean out my classroom. On April 30th, the lights will be dimmed, How melodramatic!! O'Brien Out! WooHoo!


BlueSkies
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:59 AM
Joined: 2/24/2016
Posts: 1096


Obrien, you write so well that I needed a tissue at the end of your post.  I think the phrase, " the lights will be dimmed, obrien out!" Got me at the end.  Very dramatic.

Seriously though, it is a huge deal and I can see how all this is effecting you.  I quit working almost 8 years ago.  Seems like a another lifetime.  I use to miss work and feel guilty about not being a productive member of society.  But I have since adapted and now don't miss it at all.  You will adjust too.  You will eventually settle into your new normal and learn to enjoy simpler things in life.  It's actually a laid back life as long as you don't panic and fight the losses as they happen.  That's where I had to learn and still have my moments today.  Don't give in to the fear.  You " will "  feel fear, no doubt, but you gotta get through it and move on.  Otherwise you will end up an emotional mess, miserable and unable to enjoy the good that you still have and can have for sometime yet in your life. 

 Sounds like You have a great support system emotionally, financially and here of course.  We have your back!  You have all your t's crossed and your i's dotted.  You have everything taken care of.  In May you can take a deep breath, have your margarita and plan your new life of leisure.  Make life fun.  Do all you have been wanting to do that you can and while you can.  I am looking forward to hearing about all your new and exciting adventures to come.  

Hugs to you my friend.  Will be counting down with you.  BlueSkies


dayn2nite2
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 3:37 AM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3467


I really have to say that I don't think it's in your best interest to disclose as you're leaving.  Perhaps later in the year?

The reason I say this is that the blame game will start with students (and I don't care how well you know them or think they like you) and their parents blaming you for something they missed during this school year.  Everyone knows the disease doesn't come on overnight, so everyone will know you've been teaching with it all this year and probably last year also.

You, not being there, will be a very convenient place to lay blame when grades come out or tests are taken and failed, some administrative work is undone, etc.

Best to say nothing.  I know you're trying to put a face on the disease, but it is not in your best interest to do so in your field.




grandmalynda
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 8:11 AM
Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 374


Wishing you all the best obrien.  Here's to fun in the sun, new and exciting adventures, smiles, laughter and all the best life has to offer!  ENJOY

--Lynda


Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 8:20 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Hi Jean,

I'm so happy for you that in a few weeks you will retire.

Whether to tell or not? I read your wonderful posting and day2nite2 response. Yes, she as some points, but no matter how they complain you did your best and the grades are in. I know you have been giving the idea of telling a lot of thought. I think your path will do more to educate your town than anything else you can do. When you tell them, let them know in specific ways how this disease has affected the way you have taught so they can begin to have insight into how this works. Most folks have an idea of Alzheimer's as the picture they see of a non-functioning person in the late stages of the disease. Let them know it has taken years for you even to progress to the point where you feel you must leave your beloved profession. And that you expect to have many more years of a good life.

Do, after a pause to relax, get involved in some volunteer activities. One, of course, that you are well suited for is to volunteer at your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. You have a story to tell. You could be a friend to someone else in your area who is also a PWD. You could speak at their Walk to End Alzheimer's or other events. 

 

I'll be thinking of you as you wind down. And start taking stuff  home bit by bit. I left a lot of stuff for the library. I'm sure no teacher looked at it after I left. Too much  work. And so many times I wished I had it.
llee08032
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 8:39 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


I am impressed as to how well you havethis all worked out Obrien. Such a big part of our lives is our career and it will take some adjusting and getting used to. I'm getting from your post that your contemplating telling your friend's at work, your trusted colleagues...  I don't see anything wrong with that. I wish you all the best as you make this major change!
julielarson
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 9:04 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Obrian, I am so glad you have it all worked out.. I am also glad you are going to tell people because otherwise they do not know if you go off quietly and say nothing.. Good luck to you!
Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 9:40 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4460


 That is great new. It is very important to reinvent your self and find a new purpose in life. It also sounds like financial you will be in good shape so make sure you do some travel. Some great places to see in this world. There are some nice places you can volunteer for that could use the help of peole like us. I did that for 6 years and it was one of the best things I did and it helped people. 


obrien4j
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 11:41 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Thank you  for your words of encouragement, it is  uplifting and reassuring as I walk this part of my journey. All I know how to do is teach and now I will close this chapter of my life. I know what I need to do, and I pray that I  have the motivation and strength to do what needs to be done, for as long as I can. This is scary, to be retiring at 55-not in the game plan, and especially not with dementia. I now begin to release the stress that was keeping me up at night and making me grind my teeth all day. I begin to feel relief and reassurance that everything's going to be ok. At that same rate, I come to terms with the fact that I AM retiring because of my dementia, not because I've paid my dues to society and now get to sit by the pool with a Margarita- although that WILL definitely be part of the plan- but because it's best for me. It is what it is- how I feel my body release the load and relax now- it is what it is. I am not alone, I am blessed beyond words.
Iris L.
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 2:24 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18513


Obrien, your life will become easier once you have this load off your shoulders.   You could still teach or advocate as a volunteer, but without the pressure.

Iris L.


Jo C.
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 4:18 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13599


Congratulations on your pending retirement, obrien.  Your plans sound marvelous and we would all like to join you poolside with margaritas . . . . oh boy; picture that!

You are leaving much stress behind and that will in all probability help to ease things quite a bit.  The order of the day will now be what obrien chooses to do and that sounds like a great big HURRAY!   

Best and warmest of wishes are coming your way,

J.


obrien4j
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 7:48 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


So can y'all believe this? My boss, "the friend ", has done nothing at all to support me this whole time. She has made empty promises and has shown hypocrisy and a lack of professionalism. She has been saying that we need to "reconnect" , we haven't spoken since Jan when she basically denied me any possibility of teaching what I want. So I made an appointment with her and she cancelled it!!told the secretary that I really needed to talk to her. And nothing. So I emailed her my resignation!
Iris L.
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 8:09 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18513


Obrien, I left my medical career abruptly.  I went on medical leave of absence when I was threatened with probation by my chief of staff.  Needless to say, my departure was not on good terms.  This has haunted me to this day.  I was upset that my chief of staff did not suggest himself that I take a medical leave of absence, because he and some other staff members had been talking about me and my performance for some time.  I felt like I had been stabbed in the back.  But I try to put it behind me, because it is in the past, and there is nothing I can do about it now.  Our large, multi-office medical group shut down and I kept in touch with only one other doctor.    


In my case, I did not know what was wrong with me.  You do.  You have an opportunity to have a different outcome than I had.  If you want to engage in advocacy and awareness of YOAD, this is the time to do it, even if you have resigned abruptly.  Your boss/friend most likely has absolutely no concept of YOAD.  Her job is to protect the system.  Now, I can see why my chief of staff acted the way he did, even though I was disappointed.  I think he should have handled my case another way.  But he didn't know better.  


I hope you do get a chance to talk calmly with your boss at some time.  Since you have resigned abruptly, don't expect good rapport.  Since you have resigned, I take it that you have decided against taking long term disability.  My suggestion is not to make any quick decisions for a while.  Things will be changing and you will be on a roller coaster for a while.


Iris L.


obrien4j
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 8:51 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


No ,Iris I will begin my long term disability on May 1st and then retire on May 31st.  I know she hasn't even read the email, how pathetic. I'm very annoyed, feeling very discarded right now. I don't know how to leave....
dayn2nite2
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 9:13 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3467


obrien4j wrote:
So can y'all believe this? My boss, "the friend ", has done nothing at all to support me this whole time. She has made empty promises and has shown hypocrisy and a lack of professionalism. She has been saying that we need to "reconnect" , we haven't spoken since Jan when she basically denied me any possibility of teaching what I want. So I made an appointment with her and she cancelled it!!told the secretary that I really needed to talk to her. And nothing. So I emailed her my resignation!
I believe it.  This is why I keep saying to keep your reason for retiring to yourself.  When you reveal why, you will find people backing away and that's not what your aim was.
You are a good soul who believes the best in people.  I think "people" in general are going to disappoint you if you do make any kind of announcement as to why you're retiring and it also wouldn't surprise me if your boss didn't keep your confidence and has already told people.

obrien4j
Posted: Monday, April 10, 2017 9:49 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Sadly, I believe you're right. Just as she never replied when I told her I was staying back in January.I don't get a good feeling. I don't know when I began to think that she was a friend.She never had my back.
Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 6:11 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4460


 Everyone has a job and a role to do and one can not blame there boss as that is there responsibility. I would do the same if I was in that situation. WE need to change the laws around this disease so people have better out comes. Your boos may have been instructed to not have dialoged with you because of her friendship by her boss. She is not going to risk her job and you would not want her too if you are a true friend. Life suck and we need to learn how to play the game in our favor. Consider your self lucky as I lost 70% of a six figure salary not to mention all the other benefits. If that would have happened I could have let my wife take off now so we could really travel instead of just 5 weeks a year now.   


obrien4j
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:45 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Iris- I used the wrong word-I should have said disability retirement and not resignation. Either way, it was in the subject line, you'd think she would have opened it. I'm doing my part- getting all the paperwork together, finishing out my job to the best of my ability.I don't think double checking with my boss if she read my retirement email is a requirement.

Michael- who knows what's going on- in an odd way, I'm glad she responded (or didn't respond!) the way she did, because that helps me feel less guilty and less emotional about leaving. Politics in the workplace- everybody CTA!


Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 8:02 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Quote from Iris says what I was thinking as I read your post:

Your boss/friend most likely has absolutely no concept of YOAD.  Her job is to protect the system.  Now, I can see why my chief of staff acted the way he did, even though I was disappointed.  I think he should have handled my case another way.  But he didn't know better.  


And so as you educate the kids and staff as you leave, hopefully the principal and other Admin staff also learn something about Early Onset, they will think about how they could have hadled the situation better.


alz+
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 12:49 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


It is surprising when people we would comfort or support in whatever way we can seem to go silent with this illness.

In my life it turns out all those who fled are people I am glad are not meddling or tinkering around my situation.

Seems like you got your direction set up and are focused. Well done. Being forced out of work is hard no matter how it happens.

Proud to be your friend here. Adjusting to having this condition just takes time, some luck, and lower expectations to find peace - dare to hope for happiness. Why not?

Wishing you lots of happiness and health.


obrien4j
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:18 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Thank you alz+- brought tears to my eyes. You nailed it- being pushed out from afar. That's ok- never been more eager to retire than now
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:14 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18513


Obrien, I have noticed a theme of many PWD posts.  We become upset at the way our family and close friends treat us. My posts on this board for about the first few years were about how upset and disappointed I was over being treated badly by my closest friends.  I came to find out that this is not uncommon at all.  No one knows how to react to us.  Once I came to the decision not to disclose that I have memory loss to the public, it is amazing at how nicely people treat me now.

I realize this is taking the easy way out.  Other people, like Mimi, get sympathy and assistance when they disclose.  It occurred to me that some of her good results may be from the fact that many people were taught to respect their elders.  They don't see me as an elder to be respected so much.  Like Rodney Dangerfield, "I don't get no respect!" when I mention that I have memory loss.


Your friend doesn't know what to make of you.  I had a close friend that I had regarded as a sister that I lost for several years.  We did not speak at all.  Lately, we have been speaking and our friendship is returning.  But I never mention my memory loss or how I am doing.  You and your friend may resume your friendship in the future.  You have to give it time.  See how much advocacy you will want to do.  You could be at the forefront of making a difference.


Iris L.


llee08032
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:22 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Obrien,

Bottom line she is wrong and it's her damn loss if this is the way she wants to go. There are ways around these types of situations in the workplace. If I was your boss I would be thanking you profusely for your years of dedication and hard work, letting you know I could not replace you, as there is not another you, cheering you on and wishing you all the best. That is what you deserve. I'm not one to give up on friendship and love so easily...

I hope she comes through and is planning a big party or that she is having difficulty processing you leaving. I'm a big mush when it comes to people I love and appreciate and goodbyes. 



llee08032
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:39 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408



llee08032
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:43 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408



obrien4j
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 8:23 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Awww llee, that was too cute what you said. You are very sweet and just seeing those words, makes me feel better about the situation. I wish I could finish out the year, I really do, I would if I could- but I have to think about myself at the end of the day-no one would care if I stayed under distress and anxiety anyway. I honestly think that my email got sent to the bottom of the pile and she's going to *&%$ when she finally opens it. So what do I do, text a grown woman to see if she opened the email stating that I am retiring on April 27th??? Or go about my life and do my job until then?

There's a Margarita with your name on it sitting right by my pool, llee! I lived in Mexico for 20 years and never once tried tequila- I come back to the States and OLE!!


obrien4j
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:01 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


She really is not my friend. All I'm needed for is information-that's it. And when I don't have any, I'm discarded. You know the story. I'm glad however, that things are turning out the way they are- less emotion in the end.
obrien4j
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 11:57 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Well, my boss, the principal, DID read my email about my disability retirement and hasn't said a DAMN thing! We continue to work as usual...
julielarson
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 12:20 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Obrian I am wondering if she does not say anything because as is with most people.. They just do not know what to say due to their own fear of dementia.
Jo C.
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 12:36 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13599


Hello Dear Obrien; a thought suddenly hit me.   Will an email suffice as sufficient notice of your leaving?  You seem sure she has read it.   I was wondering if perhaps a certified letter would give you better solid proof of notice should that ever be necessary.  Don't know the particulars, but if you have taken  action and filled out all forms in the Human Resource Office of your school district, would they have notified her of your intent?

Just don't want anything to throw a monkey wrench into your plans if formal notice from you is something required.

Just a random thought . . . .

It will take a few months to get settled in from no longer working, and then all of this will soon become ancient history and lose any power it ever had.

J.


obrien4j
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:01 AM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


Jo- it seems like the email was sufficient and I've checked with HR and I don't need to do anything else. I'm stunned that my boss has not contacted me, but I am not going to obsess over it either. I want to do my job to the best of my ability until my last day- give them no reason to "chuck" it up to dementia. The end of the year is very stressful for me, but I am trying to do as much as I can so admin doesn't say I walked out and left them hanging. So sad to leave this way, but it is what it is.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time and effort to reply to me-so glad I found ya'll!


MaryW
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 11:35 AM
Joined: 3/3/2017
Posts: 174


She also might be sorry to lose you and not know what to say?  If HR confirms that you have done everything you needed to, and that your vacation and disability are set up according to plan, then sit back.  It might be nice to get a small gift, card and flowers for your boss, thanking her for all the years that she made working there a pleasure, and how much you will miss her. 

It is very easy, when things are changing, to misjudge what another's intentions are and suffer hurt feelings.  She might be doing the same thing.  You have shared many wonderful years together, isn't it better to remember her that way?

Mary


obrien4j
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2017 3:56 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451


That is true Mary, I want to end this chapter on a positive note and not think badly of anyone. Her behavior is odd,but I don't want to spend all this energy trying to figure out why she is acting the way she is. I just want to do my job as best as possible and try not to get too emotional along the way. I am responsible only for myself and my actions, and I don't want her actions to change my focus. We are not dear, close friends but I did feel we had a good relationship . Thank you for the advice, I will reach out to her at some point.