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Glee fans gathered around their television sets last night to bid farewell to Cory Monteith, aka Finn Hudson. While the heartbreaking episode provided closure for fans as well as castmates, there are some Cory left behind who are still feeling unsettled.

Cory’s estranged father is speaking out for the first time about his one regret since his son’s tragic passing. Joe Monteith told PEOPLE exclusively that he wakes up each morning heartbroken and missing his son, just wishing he had one more chance to say goodbye.

“It’s just ripping my insides out and tearing me apart,” the 63-year-old said through tears.

Monteith has had limited contact with his late son for much of his life as a result of a nasty divorce between him and Cory’s mother.

Because they were estranged, Joe was excluded from seeing his son’s body one last time before it was cremated after his tragic and abrupt passing in July. The last time Joe and Cory came face-to-face was nearly two years ago – after being absent in one another’s lives for 11 years. Cory’s father says the two talked about Glee, his love interest Lea Michele, and Cory’s battles with drug addiction which, at the time, were in the past.

Joe says the meet up gave him the chance to finally have a heart-to-heart conversation with his son and give his side of the divorce story. He says it was only then that it struck him how little he actually knew about his own son.

Joe explained to Cory that it was his job in the military that drove a wedge between him and his former wife, leading to divorce in 1989. Joe claims that for the next 17 years, his wife kept him at a distance from their two sons.

“One year, she even sent back the Christmas presents that I had sent to the boys,” Joe says.

Joe also recalled a promise that his then 29-year-old son made to him to stay clean. He reminisced with Cory on a dark time in his life when he went “code blue” from a bad drug reaction. It was only a shot to the heart that brought him back, giving him a second chance at life.

“He got a shot to his heart to bring him back, and he was told at the time to use no drugs of any kind because you had your one shot,” Joe explained.

Cory promised his dad he’d make that chance worth it. “He said, ‘I wont go there ever again. I’m enjoying myself.'”

“I lost my son,” Joe said. “He should have known not to touch that drug again.”

Like Joe, fans and Glee actors and actresses felt a great loss after Cory passed. In an attempt to honor their fallen friend, Glee aired a heartbreaking tribute to Monteith last night.

“We wrote it because we loved Cory. So the episode is about how all the people loved Cory and find it really hard to go on with the show so to speak, but that’s the whole point of this show,” said Glee‘s creator Ryan Murphy.

Though Murphy helped co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, he revealed that it was no easy task for him.

“I edited it and I could only sit through it twice – it was hard,” he said.

The episode as a whole was enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the coldest of people, but two moments in particular tugged at our heartstrings.

Lea Michele, who was Cory’s girlfriend on and off the screen, sang her own adaptation of “Make You Feel My Love” and could barely hold back her own tears.

Following her special tribute to her lost love, the entire cast came together to send off their friend in song. Cory’s friends – and Finn’s classmates – gathered together and ditched the auditorium to sing “Seasons of Love” and say goodbye once more.

As the song comes to a close, the once dimly lit stage is illuminated and the cast turns to see a photo of Finn Hudson.

The show’s creator says the cast will return to the small screen, sans Finn, on November 7th.

SOURCE: GossipCop, E! News, PEOPLE | Photo Credit: Wenn

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