I woke up Sunday morning to discover that Cory Monteith had died. The 31-year old star played Finn Hudson on FOX’s Glee. Although I hadn’t watched Glee for the past year, I’d been discussing it with friends during play practice just a few months ago.
When I found out that Cory had been in a relationship with Lea Michele, who plays Rachel Berry, it broke my heart. I lost someone recently too, and the void left behind is a terrible burden. My heart goes out to her, and I hope her friends and family are able to support her during this time and afterwards. It’s hard to go on alone after the world becomes disinterested in your personal tragedy.
Cory was someone I admired. His audition for Glee was creative, a drum solo on plastic containers. When he got asked to perform a song since the role would require singing, he taped a rendition of an REO Speedwagon song. He was given the job. What’s so inspiring about him is that he wasn’t born into the business and he didn’t have a background in it. He paid his way through acting classes by working as a roofer, and his dedication eventually paid off when he got to play the quarterback turned glee club member Finn Hudson.
He checked into rehab earlier this year, supported by family and his girlfriend. It looked like he had turned his life around, and was even feeling pretty good about his future just a few weeks ago. He’d talked with a friend about a visit to California, and had just been a part of a couple film projects which are all in post-production. Unfortunately, after the coroner’s report was released, it appeared that Cory had relapsed, imbibing a fatal mixture of heroin and alcohol.
I know my grief over his death is nothing compared to those who knew him in person. But it is true that I grieve his passing. I had watched Cory Monteith on TV for three years, I’d seen interviews with him, and had been impressed by what a nice person he was. He was a really good guy, by all accounts, with a promising future.
When someone you’ve been around (or watched) for a while dies, there is a very real grief felt. They were a part of your life, even if you weren’t part of theirs, and while you’d love to do something to comfort those who were a part of their loved one’s life, it’s difficult to know how to proceed without looking like a crazy stalker or an obsessed fan. Luckily, there are a few practical options:
Fans who would like to show their sympathy for Cory’s family and friends are encouraged to donate to the following charities, all of which were important to Cory: Project Limelight, a wonderful theatre program for youth in a troubled area of Vancouver; Virgin Unite, which pools volunteers for smaller charity efforts; and Chrysalis, a program for homeless and low income individuals to find and keep jobs.
I don’t know what the future will look like for Glee, or its cast and crew. I can imagine that the coming weeks will be filled with tears as they learn how to live without their friend. It’s a difficult road to walk. Cory was supposed to be a key player in the first part of the 5th season, with production starting just a few weeks from now. Glee has never been afraid to tackle realistic life events (Sue Sylvester’s sister’s death comes to mind), but it might be too difficult for the actors to play a storyline about Finn’s death as they are still grieving over the loss of Cory.
We never know how much time we have. Cory Monteith did the best he could, including supporting charitable efforts, working hard to follow his dreams, and reaching out for help when he needed it. He was an inspiration, and he will be missed.