Ryan Dorsey and the late Naya Rivera‘s son Josey just celebrated his first holiday season without his beloved mom, who drowned during a boating outing in July 2020. The 37-year-old actor says that his son is so “strong and brave,” in a new Instagram post showing how Ryan’s favorite NFL team the Carolina Panthers gifted five-year-old Josey with plenty of team gear for Christmas.
In the Jan. 21 IG #ThrowbackThursday share, a smiling Josey could be seen wearing a large knit cap with a big panther’s face on top. He also showed off an official “Team Member” badge on a neck lanyard. Josey sat next to a white box table with the panther’s logo on it, and a turquoise and black “Sir Purr” pillow with a panther paw print on it. A team banner with their motto “Keep Pounding” could be seen behind Josey, hanging on his bedroom wall.
“Shout to @panthers and @sirpurr for sending us some sweet holiday swag. We really appreciate it. This little boy…man…I couldn’t be any prouder of someone. At such a young age, he’s endured more than anyone should at 5 years old,” Ryan began in the caption.
“Without even fully realizing it, he lives the #keeppounding mantra every day with his resilience,” the Yellowstone star continued. He said of his son, “You’re so strong, so brave, and so kind. I will always be proud of you and we will always #keeppounding b/c that’s all we can do.”
Ryan added, “To everyone that had a tough 2020…you will never forget it, we think about it every day and I feel for you and vibrate alongside you on that frequency…I hope you can find some way to go on with your days, to persevere – no matter how hard it is. All the love. #keeppounding.”
Ryan Dorsey has been raising his son Josey by late ex-wife Naya Rivera following her her tragic July 2020 drowning in a California lake. He says his son is so ‘brave’ and ‘resilient’ despite the devastating loss of his mom. Photo credit: MEGA/SplashNews
Naya tragically drowned while taking Josey out on a boating trip on Southern California’s Lake Piru on July 8, 2020. The pair went for a swim in the water when Sheriff’s officials believe the pontoon boat began to drift away from them. The former Glee star sacrificed her own life to save her son’s by getting him safely back aboard the boat, while she was unable to do so for herself.
After her body was found on July 13 following an extensive search of the lake, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub told reporters that “She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.” According to little Josey via an autopsy report released on Sept. 13, Naya’s final word was a cry for “‘help as she put her arm in the air,” the report said. “She then disappeared into the water.” Since her death, Naya’s sister Nickayla has moved in with Ryan to help him raise Josey in the absence of the boy’s beloved mom.