Quick. Fast. Now. Go. Do. Success. Power.

Instant gratification is an unfortunate American archetype. I feel myself drawn to this alluring proposition constantly even when I have, on more than one occasion, realized it’s self-defeating. I want to get where I am going now, not two hours from now, not two years from now. Right now.

Even as a big proponent of living in the moment, something self-help gurus bellow regularly, I catch myself impatiently chasing after my current challenge at any given time. I want to climb the damn mountain already and move on to the next. But by doing this, I realize, I neglect another alluring alternative: savoring each moment in the process.

In February, on my site Trauma to Art (http://trauma2art.com), the theme was, “Does the grieving process end?” There were a variety of answers but the consensus was “no, it does not.” Generally people felt coping mechanisms improve over time but some sense of loss always remained. Mostly I agree. I can’t imagine a time when a part of me won’t miss my mother.

People also agreed that coping became easier to manage over time. Of course, this depends on how the time was used. I’ve since reflected on my own journey through the grieving process, beginning when I lost my mother five years ago to today when I have the ability to I write about loss. When I reflect on that journey, I see a series of stages: denial, depression, action, and eventually peace.

Peace is a grand word. To clarify, I mean I made peace with the loss and found a way to cope with it.

Now I look back on that journey with fondness and deep appreciation. I am as grateful for the bad times as I am for the good times. Some of the dark moments led me to my greatest self-discoveries. I wouldn’t be so ignorant as to presume that I know what is in store for me in the future. I can be grateful and patient on the way there because I do know I’ll get there. I think Katharine Hepburn said it best, “Not everyone is lucky enough to understand how delicious it is to suffer.”

Lauren Muscarella 2011


Lauren Muscarella

Lauren started the blog Mama Quest in May 2010 to share stories of her journey through loss after losing her mother in 2006 at age 20. The blog also serves as an outlet to pass on the wisdom she received from her mother, who died of breast cancer at 52. After an overwhelmingly positive response to the blog, she launched Trauma to Art, a movement to support and facilitate creative expression from those who have experienced loss. Now Lauren works to build the Trauma to Art community while writing a book of creative arts therapy activities for confronting grief as well as preserving the memory of lost loved ones. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys volunteering, traveling, wine tasting, and learning to speak French.

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