Replacement And Loss–Change Gets Real

 

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Last week has been a real whirlwind for me as I wind down my career.  It was the tenth week in the countdown.  On Monday we had an interview with a candidate for my position.  Plus my husband got ordered to get a stress test because of new symptoms, and my cousin’s husband died.  With replacement and loss as the markers for this tenth week, shit just started getting real.

Replacement

Our director is very close with the pennies, so I was shocked to hear that he would break tradition and consider hiring a replacement before I left my job.  Our usual habit had been to farm the clientele out across other case managers till a replacement was found and then resettle them with the new one.  The new one would learn on the fly.

So the prospect of actually training my replacement, introducing the clients to their new case manager, and all that, became suddenly real and daunting.  The hiring decision can’t be made for another week or two because of technical reasons, but the woman I met seemed like a good person and qualified to do the job.

Training

My problem training is that there is no way I will be able to impart enough in 4-6 weeks to make things easier on her, or whoever.  I can swamp her, confuse her, overwhelm her easily.  There’s too much there.

Training isn’t new to me, but I am not too good at it as an intensive process.  I’ve always had enough other things to do that I just trained as the new things came along, instead of trying to talk about stuff that hasn’t happened yet.  So it’s time to figure out how to condense that process and trust the others to be there for her when I no longer am.

Replacement and loss at the end of the job

I find myself worrying about some of my clients falling prey to phone scammers.  The whole prospect of letting go of some of them is daunting.  I’ve known most of them for 20-28 years now.

Change is hard for them because it isn’t in their control.  I’m the one starting this change.  But it’s time.  We’ve had a long run and it’s only because in this area we don’t have turnover–if you get a decent job you hang on for dear life–that I hung around this long.

After all, I tell them, I’m not dying, and I’ll be seeing them around.  But it won’t be the same.  I won’t be there for them the way I can be now.  So it is a big change for us all.  We need to trust in the process set up to cover my job.  The new person will have some great trainers in my clients!

Feeling guilty about leaving your job or clients?  Read this.

Loss

A bunch of us were talking about loss at our craft meeting a couple of weeks ago.  The widow in the bunch says that the death of her husband pretty much ended her life.

She had taken care of him for 15 or so years after he was in a work accident and permanently disabled.  So she lost a loved one, and the one she was dedicated to caring for, all at once.  She has children but they live far away and are pretty independent.  She says she could die any time and be OK with it, “not that I want to.”  She still enjoys things and works and sees her mother every year.

Which makes me think of my cousin.  She had been caring for her husband, who had chronic and debilitating illnesses, and he recently passed.  Her big request was that we get together this summer and get to know one another better.

She is older than I by a good bit and she always lived in New England so we never saw one another growing up.  She has successful faraway kids, and she does genealogy.  And beyond that, it will be good to get to know her because we just never had the chance before.

So maybe it’s true what they say, about when one door closes, another opens.  We just have to be watching those doors.

Eventual loss

Which brings me to the eventual loss of health and life.  My husband has  another stress test coming because of new symptoms of possible heart and lung problems.  He thinks it has to do with lungs but, as we know, they’re hooked to the heart pretty closely.

The new symptoms scare him.  He gets winded and tight in the chest if he does much of anything strenuous.  One day this week while I was at work, he was on the Internet researching it up.  I came home and he told me he didn’t think he’d live beyond ten years from now.

Another blast from reality:  our lives are really shorter now.  Even if this is a false alarm, we are closer to death than we are to birth.  And I’m in pretty good health so it feels like I am going to be the one to survive alone.

Replacement and loss at home

We ought to be finding out, about the time we hire a replacement for me at work, what the doctors call my husband’s condition.  We should find out more about what they want to do about it and all the pros and cons once they’ve tested enough.

Meanwhile my husband changed the wheels on his truck to put on the summer tires, all by himself, and his back was sore.  No mention of his chest having problems.  So we’ll see how big a deal this all turns out to be.

It may well be that dear husband is wearing things out and has been for a long time.  He should throttle back on some of his activities, such as mowing, and I can work my way into doing some of that too when I retire.  With luck I can learn how to do it all if I have to, and how to care for the equipment when the seasons change.

And if I become another caregiver, that’s another thing to learn.  Fortunately I like to learn things and don’t mind spending the extra time with this character I married.  After all, that was the plan in the first place–spending time with my husband while we have each other.

What changes, replacement and loss have come to you in retirement and how did you cope?  Comments please!

 

 

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