It is always a shock to hear about death that initially has no easy explanation.
I saw on the stream of a friend on Facebook that a much loved celebrity was found dead and the cause is as of this writing “undetermined.”
My daughter and I have been watching “Glee” for years and I loved the character of “Finn Hudson” as portrayed by 31 year old Canadian, Cory Monteith. Cory looked so much younger than he was. He played his character so well. He was a rich character of light and shadow elements. He seemed confident and certainly when singing and then he had his moments in character of being less than fully confident in himself.
So in that sense, he portrayed his teen role well. I watch my own teen mostly, so sure of herself and at other times shrinking into a cave of her creation, and I wonder: how hard is it to develop a Sense of Self that doesn’t desert us in the “Dark Nights of the Soul.” Thankfully, my daughter confides in me about most things in her own time. I am glad she sees me as a safe and nurturing parent to turn to. I am glad most of all that she sees that I see her and value her— that I love her, as she is in every emotional state and stage of her development.
So, Cory/Finn was like all of us; an amalgam of qualities. And at 13, he was abusing substances to escape what? And some years later, he was checking himself in to a rehab clinic and even recently sharing on Twitter that he was thankful for the support in his life and happy to be alive.
And now he is no more in a body. He leaves a legacy of song, acting, interviews, friends, and something that we will not ever know. The life of a performing artist who is so well-known can’t be easy and a strong Sense of Self would certainly help to navigate it. I am curious, deeply curious–as I am also very sad to read the news and watch the early video report.
Monteith was an avid supporter of Project Limelight, a Vancouver charity that offers a theater and arts programs to at-risk youth. He dined with Project Limelight co-founder Maureen Webb at a Vancouver restaurant just days before his death.
In a Globe and Mail interview last year, Monteith credited Webb for suggesting that he enroll in acting classes when he was 19 years old and going down a “very dark path.”
He kept in touch with Webb and made a video to support Project Limelight when the charity was launched last year.
“I think kids really need a place to go and feel like they belong,” Monteith said in the video posted on Project Limelight’s website. “When I was a kid, I struggled a lot with who I was and where my life was going and what I was interested in. And I was fortunate to have the arts inspire me.” (from the Huffington Post blog By LYNN ELBER and JEREMY HAINSWORTH)
What was going through his heart and mind the last hours of living “whose” life? His or another’s?
Why did he not reach out for support?
How much of what he needed did he really have to be himself?
What critical elements were absent or weighed down by other things?
As a champion and evangelist (and I use these two words together and intentionally) for cultivating a Healthy Sense of Self, I am moved and shocked and sad and curious.
What was going on behind the veil that was not visible in all those beautiful pictures of him, and forthright interviews he gave, and glorious songs he sang– as he acted his way through scripts for “Glee” and moved into other films as well?
What was going on inside for him—where it matters the most?
I know why it is important to me to do what I can in the name of a Healthy Sense of Self; even more when there are media shocks such as this one today.
I know we at HealthySenseofSelf hope to touch a lot of lives for the better; and every life matters.
Dear Cory, may you be peaceful and know you will be missed.