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Although I’m not exactly the demo (ahem, pushing 40) I played voyeur and distractedly tuned into the Teen Choice Awards amidst scanning my Twitter feed, thumbing through a magazine and snipping a glass of rosé to ease the busy day that is the life of mom with a precocious three-year-old.
Then she won and took centre stage.
I felt compelled to halt my zoning out ritual before a new work week to watch. Mesmerized. Enthralled. Impressed. And saddened.
Lea Michele from Glee was thanking her many fans and dedicating her award to Canadian-born Cory Monteith. Standing as composed as could be expected, tears glistening in her eyes, the slightest quiver of her lips, she spoke eloquently, with love and sincerity. She represented the epitome of grace, and I thought to myself — wow! She is real. She truly loved him. They were a couple just like any other you might encounter: your best friend and her husband; your sister and her significant other. The neighbours across the way. Just like me.
Read more: Cory Monteith: A tribute >
I mean no disrespect to all the Hollywood couples out there. I’m certain that among all the gossip rag fodder true love, albeit average-everyday-ho-hum love, can and does exist. However, I’m equally certain that’s not the norm for Hollywood. To be fair to celebrity culture, they’re not set up (even if they wanted to be) for our regular lives. There have also been many inspirational actors, entertainers and personalities that have met an all-too-soon demise for one reason or another. As fans we mourn and celebrate their celebrity. But we move on.
As Lea continued to speak, it was as if we were in her inner circle; her BFF listening to how much she missed Cory and what he meant to her. It was the most honest of truths.
When the news broke out about Monteith’s death I literally dropped my phone and covered my gasp. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been saddened by news of famous people’s passing before, but once the initial shock is (pardon the bad taste pun) buried by the next breaking celebrity news story or scandal, the initial human reaction of a stranger’s death dissipates and normal life carries on.
Not with Cory. For whatever reason his untimely death is sticking with me. And watching Lea made it all too relatable. I wanted to reach out and console her. Wipe her tears into my sleeve and hug her close knowing words could never, however well-intentioned, take her pain away.
And so I’m reminded through the haze of what seems so perfect and carefree that real suffering exists. It can happen to any one of us. It can happen to all of us. Being a star doesn’t bestow a pardon from unbearable hurt. In fact, it magnifies it ten-fold: the entire world watching, critiquing, speculating, mourning.
Kudos to Lea. It took courage to face the world in such a public spectacle that is a teen awards show and be just a girl who loved a boy who died.
My heart goes out to Cory Monteith’s family.
And to Lea.