On the weekend, I turn the volume off on my phone before I go to sleep. Had I left it on, I would have been met with a barrage of beeps in the middle of the night with news of Cory Monteith’s death.

I was shocked – and very much still am. Tears welled up as I snuggled back down into my blankets, hoping for comfort and finding myself almost face-to-face with Monteith himself, as I have a Glee pillowcase with his guise (a gag gift from my sister that I very much actually use to remind me of my family and their incessant teasing that I love/d Glee).

Though I didn’t know Cory, he was a constant presence in my life the past four years (and not just on my pillowcase…). I watch Glee like it’s my job, I sing along to his songs from Glee all the time (especially on my 15+ hour solo road trips), and I’ve seen him in person a couple times. I’ve never met Cory, but I saw him work (Glee Live and the filming of The Break Up in Battery Park). He seemed like a kind soul and I know he was beloved by friends, family and fans.

I refuse to speculate the cause of his untimely passing. We are all aware of the struggles he had in his life, but it would be unfair to him and his family to point fingers. I can only hope he has found his peace and pray for him, his family and friends.

This is a huge loss for the fandom, I know. Finn was one of the characters we knew from the very first episode. The show itself worked in part because of Monteith’s portrayal of the awkward dancing football player who sided with the misfits to do what he loved instead of succumbing to peer pressure. Finn was flawed and made some horrendous choices over the last four seasons, but he somehow usually managed to do the right thing.

The show will not be the same without him. And I hope they address his permanent absence with the grace and dignity Monteith deserves. Monteith was not a perfect human being – none of us are – but he was an important and vital member of the Fox and Glee team and his departure should be handled with care.

My heart goes out to Cory’s family, friends and loved ones. If me and my friends in the fandom are taking the news this poorly, I can only imagine the complete terror and feeling of loss that affects those who knew him. We need to respect them in their time of grief. This is infinitely more hard on them than it is on any of us.

Thank you, Cory Monteith. Thank you for making me laugh and smile. Thank you for allowing me to think that my own dancing is not half bad. Thank you for sharing your struggles and triumphs.

Rest in Peace, Frankenteen.