Naya Rivera would have turned 36 years old Thursday (Jan. 12). In a heartbreaking Instagram post, her ex-husband Ryan Dorsey marked the hollow occasion by paying tribute to the beloved Glee star, who died in a tragic drowning accident two years ago.
Dorsey, who was married to Rivera from 2014 to 2018, shared a trio of photos of the late actress smiling alongside their son, Josey, who turned 7 last year. “A little easier with each little bit of time that passes by to look at pictures…but I still don’t have the answers to the questions to the why’s our sweet boy asks from time to time,” he wrote. “I never will.”
“Doing the best we can,” he added. “Fly high.”
Josey was with Rivera on the day she died in July 2020, found sleeping alone on a boat the Sorry Not Sorry author had rented earlier that day in Lake Piru in Southern California. Rivera’s body was found five days later, and it is believed that she saved Josey’s life by pushing him safely onto the boat before she drowned.
“If you’re reading this no matter what you’re going through, take a moment of gratitude that you’re still here on this ride,” Dorsey concluded his post. “I know some days are harder than others to get up, but keep we just gotta keep pushing onward.”
This marks three years of birthdays Rivera has missed since she died at age 33. Last year, Dorsey honored her on what would have been her 35th birthday, telling People, “At least once a day I find myself shaking my head, like it’s still unbelievable, so surreal that she’s gone.”
“She’d be freaking out today, I could almost hear her: ‘OMG, I’m almost 40!'” he added. “It’s hard to write this, tears coming out my eyes. Unf—ing real.”
See Ryan Dorsey’s heartbreaking birthday tribute to Naya Rivera below.