“My Hero Forever.”
“Don’t Stop Believin’.”
These words were etched across notes left beside flower bouquets of every colour and variety outside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, Canada. Messages of inspiration, hope, love and peace are scattered at the memorial for Glee actor Cory Monteith, who took his last breath at the hotel last Saturday 13th July.
Lighting a Candle for Cory Monteith
A candlelight vigil was held there last Friday to honour his fleeting time on our screens and in our hearts. I have never been or seen a memorial like this before. I was astounded by how many people Monteith had touched through his acting and singing. One fan wrote that he taught her to never give up and to always follow her dreams. Another mentioned her life will never be the same now he has gone.
A fellow expat, Kate Baron from Sydney, was at the vigil and echoed my thoughts. “While Monteith’s death is a tragedy, to see such an outpour of love here tonight really makes you appreciate how you don’t need to know someone personally for them to have a positive impact on your life. Through his career Monteith has made the world a happier place for so many people across the world, and that is something that even his death cannot erase.”
Among the gifts left at the memorial were a few pairs of sunglasses; Vancouver Canucks memorabilia, which was Monteith’s favourite ice hockey team; a drawing of Monteith with his girlfriend and fellow Glee actor Lea Michele; and sealed envelopes addressed to Michele and waiting for her. I am sure inside were words of condolence and wisdom. I wondered what happens to these memories. Does the memorial get torn down and are these beautiful words thrown into a bin without a second glance? Or are they passed onto his family to help with their healing? I would feel blessed and honoured if my friend or family member had made an impact like this on other people’s lives.
Monteith’s cousin, Richard attended the vigil to thank the 250-plus people for their support. Through tears he shared that he loved his cousin and would miss him every day. That moment brought the night into perspective for me. This man, probably not much older than me, lost a friend and cousin, who he just happened to share with Gleeks and the rest of the world. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at his broken face. He was very thoughtful too, staying behind to speak to people individually and collect some flowers and notes to share with his family.
The vigil began with a soft rendition of Monteith’s first Glee hit, “Don’t Stop Believin’”. The crowd attempted to sing-along with the music coming from someone’s IPhone, but only Michele can pull off those high notes. The crowd also sung Canada’s national anthem. With candles in hand, people wrote messages to Monteith on four balloons which were let go at the vigil’s end.
Attendees also had the opportunity to share what the actor meant to them. If he could see this, I can imagine he would be overwhelmed by the show of love and support. Nevertheless, his family should feel very proud. As one fan wrote on a photo of Monteith: “Rest in Paradise, Cory.”