A Sliver of Hope in Terrible Times
Winding Down a Life (or Not) in a Troubled Time

A TGB READER STORY: Attachments

By Ann Burack-Weiss

Remember the Kubler-Ross stages of grief? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance? We first heard of them in 1969. Did you know that the original five stages were later added to by Kubler-Ross herself? (shock before denial, testing after depression).

Since Kubler-Ross felt free to add to her model, I’m pretty sure that if she had lived 'til Covid-19, she might have added one more - attachments.

My inbox runneth over - sender’s names preceded by paper clips.

Clicking on the links, I find music, dance, theatre videos, solos and groups. Rooms at home, empty sidewalks, parks, rooftops. School children, amateurs, professionals playing, singing, dancing and acting their hearts out.

Cartoons, singly or in long threads. My favorite: a Seder plate (Passover on April 8th). In place of ceremonial objects to remind us of past sufferings are those that in years to come will remind us of today - rolls of toilet paper on one section, masks on another, gloves on another

Poems, stories, essays and quotes by published authors. Or written by the senders themselves.

Yoga and meditation mantras.

Netflix or Prime Time or Hulu programs I must watch, books and articles I must read.

Pleas for social action from academic, health care, social service, political and religious organizations.

HD and online offerings from arts organization (museums, operas, concert calls, theatre companies, lecture sites).

I am a serial offender, BCC my favorite address line.

Attachments reflect my life. The senders are members of my tribe. I imagine that if I were a bridge or chess player, I’d be receiving games to play. Gamblers surely receive lineup of odds in every race and lottery, as those interested in team sports must trade statistics and review potential trades.

Email attachments are virtual life lines reminding us of who we were before and may one day be again. They pull us up as we are about to drown in the swirling waters of fear and grief. Gripping tightly to our ends, we feel the answering pull that says “Just hang on. I’m still here. I won’t let you go.”

Attachments. Definitely an Eighth Stage. Projecting us into a future when we step out of our caves and into the arms of those emerging from theirs.

Our hugs will be tight and long. Then we’ll walk off together. For coffee or lunch at our favorite place, the one where the tables are so close that you can overhear every conversation.

Or to a concert where we turn our heads to shush the whisperers behind us.

Maybe walking and talking as we stroll through the park or along the river, find that bench under a tree where we can hear the music from the jazz trio, watch the parade of babies, lovers, old people, everyone in between.

“What a time that was!” we will say.

* * *

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]

Comments

Oh! How deeply your story touched my heart today. thank you.

a beautiful POV and a fun twist on attachments. I thought, for a moment, that I was going to hear about the dangers of being attached to one's computer for untold hours at a time. Thank you, Ann

Very enjoyable. A good read. Thanks.

Thank you for a glimpse into a future time—it makes me believe I will be here to see it. It is so relevant to NOW! I will also look at the attachments I receive with brand new eyes. Lovely, Ann! Thank you

This piece really resonated with me! I, too, receive almost hourly attachments of song, dance, theater, etc. -- both a link to my once-active New York life and a sad reminder of how far away that all is now. But I had not thought about how these attachments actually reflect my life as it was and how someone else's attachments would be totally different.

Years ago, I remember hearing Gloria Steinem say something like this: "If you want to know what you care about, look at your checkbook stubs." Maybe now we can say, look at your attachments.

Thanks for this piece!

I enjoyed reading your piece. It is an interesting view point, this feeling of attachment. I cannot relate at all, though. My parents were “free thinkers.” I was not brought up in a religious household. But when I came to San Francisco I joined, in 1965, with my husband-to-be, a Buddhist circle.

One of the principles of Buddhism is the concept of “non-attachment.” I have been working on this for 55 years now, it is not easy, but I am almost there. This non-attachment is not a lack of concern or care; it means that you don’t allow things in your life to own you. This way you can enjoy your life. It is very empowering and liberating. You can adjust your mind and feelings to any situation and be very flexible. Nothing in life is permanent so as aspects of your life change, non-attachment enables you to enjoy what is in the moment. Then you are not tied down , you are free - these things do not possess you. I may not explain myself well. But this philosophy has helped me to obtain happiness and freedom. However, I always enjoy reading different opinions.

“Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. But once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won’t have to go around search for it.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist Master. So let go, and let it be, and be happy.

Ann: What you have written is actually a poem.

Ronni, I am also one of your anonymous friends. Your wisdom has traveled and so happy i was apart of the journey.

With you in spirit and thoughts.

M

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