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Cory Monteith: Celebration of life

I am without a doubt, a hardcore Gleek. So you can imagine my initial reaction when I woke up a few mornings ago hearing that my beloved “Finn” had passed away. Finn is definitely a fan favourite and I've been Finchel’s number one supporter from the moment they started dating on the show, so naturally I'm devastated.

But aside from that initial reaction, I think I just got really sad. I thought about Rachel in real life (Lea Michele) and how she was handling it. I started thinking about his family, and how a family unit can even respond to one of it’s members dying. I thought about how I’d feel if my boyfriend or my sister passed away, and I have no idea of how I'd handle it. Maybe it's something no one wants to think about. Maybe it's impossible to imagine what you’d do until you’re in that specific situation.

At first I was thinking about this from a very personal perspective, but now that I've had a few days to reflect I've realized that I can’t respond to a celebrity’s death from a personal eye. I didn't know Cory Monteith personally. I didn't even know he’d struggled with substance use & abuse before his death since he was 19 years old. How can I feel a personal connection to someone I don't even know?

So being curious, I looked into his past struggles to see what had been happening with the Glee star outside of his infamous role on Glee.

I was a little surprised by what I found. I didn't find articles talking about a horrible past or any articles bashing substance use & abuse or his involvement with it. Instead I found articles talking about his involvement with different charities, specifically Vancouver based ones. He was involved with Project Limelight, a project that reaches out to kids through the arts and gives an art as an outlet, and he was an advocate for homeless youth as well.

I found pages and pages on his charity work, his advocacy and his constant support, and it made me think. Why had I not searched this before? Why did it take his death to make me look into his charities? I consider myself to be a generally good person, and yet it took someone dying for me to even care about his life outside of a tv show? How does that work? Why is it like that?

And that idea is what made me begin to see the light in all of this.

Now on no level am I saying this isn't sad, because it is. It’s tragic. And to a long term, 100% dedicated, loving, adoring Gleek, it’s devastating. But after reflecting on his death for a few days and researching his community involvement, the phrase that’s entered my mind is “Celebration of life.” I think when something horrible happens you just have to look towards the light in it, and that’s what the phrase means to me. So that’s what I'm going to do, I'm going to celebrate the good in his life. I'm going to look into all the work he did in his home town (Vancouver) and I'm going to look at his advocacy towards homeless youth. I'm going to celebrate his life by admiring the work he did to bring positive outcomes out of negative situations.

And perhaps we should look into what other celebrities are advocating and what they’re doing towards different charities. We should take interest in the good in the world because we want to, not to honour someone that passed away. It shouldn't take someone’s death to spark an interest in their lives.

Cory Monteith was working towards bringing positive outcomes out of dark situations. And to me, that’s admirable work that should be celebrated.