I've talked about my ridiculous affection for "Glee" before. I've also talked about how I sometimes worry about the content (here).
I got a text at 2 a.m. Sunday morning from my brother that said, "They found Cory Monteith dead in a hotel room."
It was like a punch to the stomach. It was a punch to the stomach followed by abdominal confusion as to why it stung so much.
I didn't know Cory Monteith, obviously, but I knew Finn Hudson. I knew him so well. I knew him because I spent many ugly cry moments sobbing over his relationship with Rachel and how it reminded me very much of my personal teenage heartbreak. The heartbreak is in the past, but the moments of hurt that came with it sometimes pop up. I bonded with those characters over how much I just understood their fiction.
In some ways though, I knew Cory Monteith. I knew him as formerly bright-eyed kid who had been through more in his short time on this earth than most people in much longer. I knew him from the look of desperation I have seen from people who can't believe how far they've let this go and how many people they've hurt him the process. I knew him from hearing that this is someone's "last chance" because they don't think they'll live through another relapse. I see him walk into my office every day.
I know him.
But I don't.
We don't know what took Cory Monteith from this earth to wherever he is (or isn't) now. Those answers have not come out yet. While we wait for that information, I wonder if it's any of our business? In fact, I know it's not. The truth of could leave a now deceased public figure open to the ridicule that comes from people who think they know better. Everyone knows better than addicts. Addicts know better than addicts. If that made an ounce of difference, there would be no addicts in the world. Judging someone's choices that you can't possibly understand is like yelling at someone in Spanish when they only speak Farsi. Will we feel any different about him if we get confirmation that it was an overdose? I can't say that it will hurt more, but it will hurt differently. It will hurt in the way that makes you want to yell, "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?! HOW COULD YOU HURT THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU SO MUCH?"
But if yelling that made a difference, I would be hoarse from unrelenting attempts to get that across to people who were on the road to a similar fate.
It just doesn't work like that. You can't talk logic to an addict when he or she is behaving like an addict just like you can't poetically coerce a diabetic's body into creating insulin. You have to wait for them to want it as much as you do and hope that it happens before they're dead.
You have to wait.
And wait and wait.
And sometimes get a glimmer of hope. Sometimes a whole damn ray of light.
And sometimes, you find yourself waiting again.
We don't know how he went, but we know that we miss him. We don't know what took him, but we know it's still unfair. Life is unfair. Death is too. Just don't spout off about how you know better. It's not relevant. What's relevant is that if this was an overdose, it kills too many people who deserve better than a life of addiction and death at the hands of their illness.
And please, don't stop believing.