(ABC News) – It’s been four months since Cory Monteith was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room on July 13, and his girlfriend, Lea Michele, is still coping with the loss.
“It’s certainly been a pretty rough year, but I’ve been surrounded by such great people, such great family,” Michele told Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday on her show. “I really feel like I’m still trying to figure out all of this.”
Michele’s parents even moved to Los Angeles to help their daughter through her grieving.
“It’s been only a few months, but my mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life, and she told me, at one point, there is an empowerment that comes with grief — at some point you find it,” she said. “It’s very hard, but you will find it, and I think at a certain point you can choose to sort of fall from this or you can choose to rise. And that’s what I’m just trying to do my best for him, because I know that that’s what he would have wanted.”
The “Glee” star said she’s still adjusting to dealing with the death of a loved one in the spotlight, with cameras following her every move.
“If you smile it’s like, ‘She’s so happy!’ and if you look sad, they’re like, ‘She’s terrible.’ It’s just really hard,” she said.
After the death of Monteith, the man she’d worked with on “Glee” since 2009, Michele just wanted to get back to work to be with her friends.
“They’re my family,” she said. “What people also don’t understand is that going to work is no harder than being at home and being in the house and opening up a closet and seeing a pair of shoes. There’s this grief [that] goes with you every day whatever you’re doing — when there are great moments, when there are hard moments — so I’d rather be at work with the people who I love that are going through the same thing.”
Along with working on “Glee,” Michele has been finishing her upcoming album “Louder.”
“I’m really happy, because Cory got to hear all but two songs on the record, and he had notes all the time when I would come home and play him a song,” she said. “We would sit in the car and listen to it because it had the best sound system.”
She even came up with a song on the album in memory of Monteith.
“We came up with a beautiful song called ‘If You Say So’ that I wrote about Cory,” she said. “Grief really just … you can get sucked into it. You can literally lose yourself if you don’t actually die from it, you can lose yourself completely. And I said to [Sia, Michele's songwriter], ‘I need to get out of my house. He would want me to live my life. … ‘ She said, ‘Oh, that’s so crazy. ’cause I wrote this song. It’s called ‘Cannonball,’ and you just said the lyrics.’ She played it for me, and the minute I heard the song, it lifted me up. It picked me up from everything.”