It’s been one year since we lost Naya Rivera.
The Glee actress’ family is honoring her memory by reflecting on who she was as a daughter, sister, mother and artist on the one-year anniversary of her tragic passing.
Rivera went missing on July 8, 2020 at Lake Piru in Southern California, where she had spent the day with her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, who was 4 at the time. After not returning the boat they had rented for the day, a search began for both Naya and Josey–the latter of whom was found, wearing a life jacket, alone in the vessel with his mother nowhere in sight.
Naya’s body was finally discovered five days after she went missing, with her death being ruled an accidental drowning. The star, who was 33, was laid to rest on July 24
Now, one year after the tragic incident, Rivera’s mother, Yolanda Previtire, talked to Good Morning America about the sadness associated with losing Naya, admitting it often becomes too much for her and her family to deal with.
“Sometimes we’re afraid of the sorrow being so heavy that we’re afraid for our own self, ’cause this is hard. There are no words to describe what we’re going through,” she said. “All we know is we have each other.”
Yolanda continued, “I feel Naya’s energy constantly telling me, ‘Mom, be happy. Don’t cry. I’m OK. Go get Josey. Have fun.’ And I feel that it’s coming from her. I literally wake up every morning, and it’s almost like a restart button, and I have to shake it off … one foot at a time. And here we are.”
Yolanda went on to note that the family is in therapy to help deal with the trauma.
Naya’s younger sister, Nickayla Rivera, said that what keeps them going is simply taking things “one day at a time.”
“And taking that one day at a time and living it to the fullest, loving each other to the fullest, and not regretting anything,” Nickayla said. “Because I know if we could go back, we’d hug a little bit harder.”
While he couldn’t be present for the interview, Naya’s little brother, Mychal, told GMA the following in a statement:
“One year without you, one year closer to when we will meet you again. Your endless energy lives on. May you continue to rest so graciously, Naya.”
Luckily, despite such a horrific tragedy, Naya will not only be remembered through her work, but also through her son.
Yolanda called Josey “a boy version” of his mom “in every sense,” pointing out “his tenacity, his drive, his zeal, his adventure for life.”
Nickayla said she also sees a lot of her sister in Josey, describing him as “such an outgoing boy” who “doesn’t take anything from anybody — and neither did Naya.”
“And the biggest thing is he loves entertaining,” Nickayla said. “He loves singing at the top of his lungs.”
Yolanda went on to say that the family doesn’t tiptoe around discussing Naya around Josey, admitting that “he misses his mom” and that she is part of every conversation they have because “he recalls their life together.” Nickayla and Yolanda said they’re “honest” with Josey when he says he misses Naya, telling him they do too.
“It’s almost like we’re feeding off each other and lifting each other up. Josey has lifted me up so many times,” Yolanda said, noting that he will tell her they’ll all see Naya again one day. “He’s comforting that way, and we do the same for him.”