Lea Michele: There is an empowerment that comes with grief

Dec 12, 2013 at 12:51 p.m. ET

Cory Monteith died five months ago, but Lea Michele is learning from her friends and family that grieving is OK, and that Cory would want her to keep doing what she does best.

Lea Michele

Lea Michele lost the love of her life five months ago and is still very much working through the grieving process. Cory Monteith died in July at age 31.

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"I really feel like I'm still trying to figure out all of this. It's been only a few months," Michele told Ellen DeGeneres.

Michele and the other cast members of Glee, where Monteith also worked, returned to film the new season very soon after his death. But for the actress, being with her second family was what she needed at the time.

"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," she said, according to People.

Michele's other friends also helped her with Monteith's death. She said her mom has experienced a lot of loss in her life and explained to her that "at one point that there is an empowerment that comes with grief. At some point you find it. It's very hard, but you will find it," Michele said.

"Grief goes with you every day, whatever you're doing, when there's great moments, when there's hard moments," she added. "So I'd rather, for me, be at work with the people that I love that are going through the same thing. And it obviously has its own triggers. But at the end of the day, I feel so safe there."

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Monteith died from a combination of heroin and alcohol toxicity after years of fighting drug addiction. Michele is doing what she can to get on with her life and said the memory of Monteith will help her continue to do great things.

"I think at a certain point you can choose to sort of fall from this, or you can choose to rise," she explained. "And that's what I'm just trying to do. I know that that's what he would have wanted, to just do my best and to hopefully make something positive for where I go in the rest of my life."

Photo credit: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.com