The Michael Scott School of Grieving

The Michael Scott School of Grieving April 29, 2015

(Jonathan Ryan posting for Jen Schlameuss-Perry.)


I guess that a lot of people who write do this, but I have a tendency to write about what I need to hear at the moment. It’s a sort of therapy, I suppose. This week (who am I kidding—it can be found in my blogs for weeks past), what I’ve mostly been dealing with (actually, “dealing” might not be the word…more like “avoiding”) is grief. I left a job that I loved after 16 years and left people who had become my family. This meant leaving the parish that was my family’s home base for everything—worship, volunteering, school for the kids, their parish activities—everything. Since I wont be heading out that way anymore, it’s even going to impact where we bank, shop and get our prescriptions. We even chose the location of our home based on the location of that parish. Now, for the first time ever, the parish my family will be attending, will not be the parish I will be working in. Everything is different. And I like change as much as the average person.


I’ve been working in my ministry for years on helping others to work through their grief, and so I’m trying to be very much in tune with what stage I’m at. I’m kind of all over the place with it—I was at acceptance months ago…or maybe just resignation…but anger just showed up this past Sunday when I attended Mass at my new parish for the first time. The Mass was nice; it’s just that Good Shepherd Sunday brought up themes for me that hit me right to the heart. I’m sure that was a good thing—it made me face the anger that I was denying and might bring me to my next goal—depression (I’m awesome at that one!). And, naturally, that made me think of Michael Scott.


This gem, from the episode called, “Grief Counseling” (see the whole episode here) illustrates the need for fruitful grieving and the absurdity that we can engage in when we don’t’ do it properly. Michael is always trying to drag other people along his journey, which is not helpful, but makes for hilarious shenanigans. Ultimately, he feels that he will be successful in making his employees grieve if he can make them depressed.

So, I have to ask myself—am I grieving properly? Am I allowing myself to feel what I need to feel without expecting others to come (disingenuously) along with me? Am I allowing myself to process what needs to be processed so that I don’t become bitter, disillusioned or stuck? Am I honoring the feelings of others, or just going selfishly inward, causing more grief for the people around me? My feelings need appropriate attention or they will swallow up any good things happening around me. I always say that my next tattoo will be “Choose Life” because I try to make it sort of a mantra for me in all of my choices. And, even in my grieving, I have to make an effort to choose life. Because, funny as he is, the last thing I want to become is a Michael Scott…


Jen Schlameuss-Perry is a massive fan of sci-fi, cartoons and superheroes and loves to write about them in light of her Catholic tradition. She currently works for a Catholic Church and practices martial arts, cares for her family and pets and writes in her spare time. Check out some of Jen’s other stuff on her Facebook page or her website.

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