There are few events in life that truly leave an impression in our minds. Remembering the time, the place, the circumstances, we are very lucky if we collect a handful of happy moments that we experience in such detail. Some of those moments can be sad, too. Finding out that Cory Monteith, “Glee’s” Finn Hudson, had passed away was one of those moments for me. Friends have texted me, friends have called me, friends have given me virtual hugs – I write this at four in the morning, and it has been a very emotional hour, as silly as it sounds. I wouldn’t normally volunteer to write such a personal piece for someone I didn’t know, but this is one of the few occasions that I feel connected enough to formulate a proper response.
Everything was sort of an eerie coincidence. I had just finished an episode of “Glee” to end my night. It was “Prom Queen”- I had just watched the gang sing and dance it out at their junior prom. I decided, like I normally do after watching an episode, to turn on my iPhone and listen to some more tracks. As I pressed the shuffle button and the opening chords of the cast’s version of U2’s “One” started, I received two text messages from friends informing me of the news. Eerily enough, it was Cory’s voice that was singing as I checked Twitter and read the updates.
Mourning is not just for someone you personally knew – it can also be for someone who you felt you knew in other ways, in connections through different mediums. Lots of us have found that connection with actors or musicians, performers or writers. I felt like I grew up with Finn Hudson, the loveable (if sometimes affable) jock-turned-crooner on “Glee.” From the pilot episode, where “Don’t Stop Believing” became an unofficial anthem for a new generation of outcasts, I, like many other “Gleeks,” built a connection with Finn and the other members of New Directions. He became a big part of my teen years – he was the guy that wasn’t afraid to be a big goofball in front of his friends and stand up for what he thought was right. Sure, sometimes it was severely misguided, but you could tell from the way Monteith portrayed him, with gentility and a grin, that Finn Hudson (and his real-life alter ego) was a kind soul.
All of my social media feeds are filled with messages and reblogs and retweets showing that same connection. Cory’s work and his spirit, without sounding preachy, is something to be celebrated. I’m glad that I’ve been able to grow up watching a character like Finn Hudson, watching an actor, a performer, a person like Cory Monteith.