This past July 8 marked a year since Glee star Naya Rivera tragically drowned at age 33 while on a small boat with her then four-year-old son Josey on Lake Piru in Southern California’s Venturna Country.
Now, 16 days later, Rivera’s ex-husband and father of their son, Ryan Dorsey, are rethinking her life, legacy and death on the one-year anniversary of her memorial and funeral.
“Today… We laid you to rest a year ago. I still can’t believe it. The year has flown by, so fast it doesn’t seem like a year ago,” the 37-year-old actor began in the caption of an Instagram post that featured Josey as a baby and more recently as a nearly six-year-old boy.
Heartwarming: Actor Ryan Dorsey, 37, pays tribute to ex-wife Naya Rivera on the one-year anniversary she was buried after her tragic drowning in July 2020
Dorsey took the time to provide an update on how Josey has changed in the year since his mother died tragically.
“Our boy has grown so much. He’s such an explorer, so curious. He is sweet, so funny, and his smile always lights up the room.
“He is an intuitive soul to say the least. To know him is to love him, everyone who meets him is always smiling. He is doing well. He’s such a resilient, strong kid,” the Justified star gushed.
The cords of hearts tighten even more when Dorsey reveals that Josey misses his mother “but know he will see you again, and the invisible thread is something that has helped us through this ever-evolving transition of your time with us on Earth that was unfair & to shorten reasons we will never understand…too soon…’
Glowing words of adoration: Dorsey gave an update on his six-year-old son Josey, which he shared with Rivera
The actor went on to reveal that July will always be “a strange and difficult month,” but he hopes those years to come will still be plentiful.
He also noted that it was difficult to look at photos or any kind of coverage about his ex-wife, but he expects that to change over time.
“As the years go by, the strength will be by my side as I will share the memories of what is the brightest star of your legacy left on this earth, our beautiful son, Josey.” He wrote.
Dorsey also referenced the Instagram collage photo of the late star and their son, which included a snapshot of Josey giving a thumbs up and flashing a big smile.
“The thumbs up… only seemed right. I remember the first time he did it back to you. In jiu-jitsu you gave him a thumbs up and he returned the gesture… it was so sweet.”
Heartbreaking: Dorsey addressed his first words of the post to Rivera, writing, “Our boy has grown so much. He’s such an explorer, so curious. He is sweet, so funny, and his smile always lights up the room’; mother and son are pictured just over three months before her death
Rest assured: “Fly high, rest in peace, knowing that he is well…he is well raised and has many family and people around him who love him and you,” the proud father wrote. his deceased ex-wife; mother and son are pictured in a loving embrace in September 2019
“Maybe it’s silly and pointless to do this on IG and post this here, but so is this whole thing. So there’s that…” Dorsey explained.
The West Virginia native then turned his thoughts and words back to Rivera.
“Fly high, rest in peace, knowing that he is well… he is well raised and has many family and people around him who love him and you.”
He ended by trying to connect with everyone who has ever lost someone in their life, and how there’not really words to make it better…we know some days are better than others…but we know our hearts and energy are with you. We’ll keep going because that’s all we can do while we’re as strong as we can be.’
Single Dad: Dorsey got custody of their boy after his mother’s death
Rivera, who played all six seasons of Glee Santana Lopez, tragically drowned on July 8 while swimming with her son Josey in Lake Piru, near Santa Clarita, California.
It is believed that she jumped into the water to help Josey back onto their small rental boat, but was unable to make it on her own.
Her son was found alone in the boat that night with no sign of his mother.
Rivera’s body was then discovered near the lake on July 13, after a five-day search, and authorities at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ultimately deemed the cause of death an accidental drowning.
Tragic: Rivera drowned on July 8 while swimming with her son Josey in Lake Piru, near Santa Clarita, California; her body was found by the lake five days later
Dorsey met Rivera in 2010 and they had a brief date.
The actress would reveal in a 2016 memoir that she had an abortion in 2010, shortly after divorcing Dorsey, due to her skyrocketing career in the wake of her successful role in Glee.
Rivera and Dorsey got back together and married in July 2014.
She filed for divorce in 2016, only to call off the divorce about a year later.
They would eventually divorce in June 2018 and agree to share joint custody of Josey.
Dorsey gained custody of their boy after his mother’s death.
Breakout role; Rivera played Santana Lopez for all six seasons of Glee (2009-2015); she is pictured with co-star Lea Michele in 2012