Confessions of a Gleek in mourning

A fan grieves over the loss of a life, but also celebrates the life that had been lived

'IT HURTS BECAUSE IT MATTERS.' Monteith's death touched his fans who didn't know him because his goodness radiated from his being. Photo from the Glee Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – For those who aren’t aware, there are online communities of fans for most TV shows and movies.

We refer to our community as a fandom, a “kingdom of fanatics” whom much of society may regard as too invested in their interests. But we consider ourselves family – a group of people who had discovered a TV show or a character or a book or a movie during a pivotal time in their lives, and fostered genuine, unbreakable ties because of it.

We are fangirls. I am a Gleek and we just lost one of our own.

I learned about Cory Monteith’s death through a fandom friend. She texted me the moment news broke out, and collectively, the fandom held their breaths as we waited for an official announcement.

With the news confirmed, a wave of grief and denial crashed over our community which used to be filled with passion and joy.

I feel bumbling and awkward when confronted by death. I have no fear of death, no sadness when I think of my own. I am sad for those left behind, for the potential untapped, but death by itself seems like a relief. A much needed sleep after a long day.

I might not have a fixed belief in an afterlife, but I have a fixed belief in a greater being and the idea of that calms me. It’s that calmness that helps me think of the next steps, of taking care of others.

But what do you do when it isn’t someone you actually know but who has greatly impacted your life? What do you do when it’s someone who’s part of a show, of a family, that had been presented to you during a time when there was nothing but darkness?

What can you do but sit behind a computer screen and watch as the world grieves?

There’s a phrase that’s been repeated of late, “We all grieve differently.” I know some people who have made it a point to reach out to other fans. Others have been making tribute gift sets and photo sets and videos. And there are not a few who wonder what will happen next season. Some people have decided to step away for a while because it’s all too much.

We all deal with grief differently. I deal with grief by doing, except this time I don’t know how to deal with mine. What I do know is that more than the loss of a life, I also find myself wanting to celebrate the life that had been lived – the ripple effect of light and love and goodness created by a person’s existence.

That’s what’s also on my mind when I think of Cory now – that he was a good soul. It doesn’t matter that none of us knew him personally, people felt his goodness radiate from his being and were touched by it.

Most people may not understand, but for those who do, for those who have felt the loss and have no way of explaining why they’re so affected by the death of a person they’ve never met, I offer these words of comfort by John Green (a man who understands fandom like no other): “It hurts because it matters.” –

Fatima Roxas

Fatima Roxas is a full-time marketer at a top company. During her spare time, she’s a proud fangirl, digital marketing diva and pop-culture analyst. Read her thoughts on her blog, The Devil Wears Popculture.

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