Courtesy Cory Monteith
Michele Corriston
July 17, 2014 04:30 PM

A year after Cory Monteith‘s death, his mother says she is still grappling with the tragedy – and finding support through Lea Michele.

“Until three days ago, I couldn’t look at a picture of Cory,” Ann McGregor told ABC News in an interview that aired Thursday. “So there’s been progress.”

McGregor, 63, still can’t talk about the night of July 13, when Monteith was found dead after overdosing on heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room. She hasn’t watched the touching Glee tribute to her son. But she does find comfort in Michele, his on- and off-screen love.

“She texts and emails me. She’s hurting, too,” McGregor said. “I mean, you see the sadness. I know her pain.”

Michele, 27, remembered Monteith on the first anniversary of his death Sunday, posting sweet photos of the couple online. She is now dating aspiring model and actor Matthew Paetz.

In the interview, McGregor – who affectionately called her son “Baby Bear” – recalled the first time he was caught using drugs at age 15.

“I think that was the turning point. He had a lot of emotional things he was trying to figure out,” she said. “A lot of it was he really wanted a relationship with his father. I think when a child gets invalidated, they keep reaching even harder. They want to find out why.”

“I remember after Cory’s first OD, the drive we took, and all I did was stare into his eyes and hug him and look at him, because I had this feeling, I really want to know him, because I’m not going to have him my entire life. That was way back then.”

Though she says Monteith had planned to move back home to Vancouver, the grieving mother does not blame Hollywood for his passing.

“I don’t think blame is a good thing to do,” she said. “No, that was his choice.”

ABC News | ABC Sports News

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