The “Blood Father” actor shares 5-year-old son Josey with the late “Glee” star and has been leaning on family to deal with the loss.
Rivera died two months ago in an accidental drowning incident while spending time with her son at Lake Piru near Los Angeles, Calif. She was the subject of a lengthy search effort after going missing while swimming with Josey before her body was finally recovered.
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey
Since her death, Dorsey, 37, has moved in with Rivera’s sister Nickayla to help cope.
The father of one took to Instagram on Tuesday night to discuss his emotions as well as slam the subsequent negativity he’s gotten after reports that he and Nickayla moved in together.
“It’s truly sad that this is the world that we live in, where people were raised to think it’s OK to just spew hatred in general,” Dorsey began.
He continued: “Especially when you make statements about a family who are dealing with a tragedy that I hope is so unimaginable that you or anyone that is close to you never has to go through.”
The actor then described the emotional and physical toll the loss of Rivera has had on him.
“I probably lost a little over 20 pounds. I don’t get good sleep. I’m sad every day,” he said. “I wake up, I go to sleep sad every night, staring at the ceiling. I’m staring at the wall and I think to myself, how lucky I am to still have my mom and to have her help out in my life still. And then I think about how [Josey] won’t have that same opportunity in his future.”
Naya Rivera and Ryan Dorsey at The UNICEF Dia de los Muertos Black & White Masquerade Ball
Dorsey then discussed the agonizing days-long search and having to discuss what happened with Josey after “he witnessed a nightmare right before his eyes.”
“You know the result of the search. You know what that result is going to be when it ends and the conversation that you’re going to have to have with him, it’s sad. And when the young boy says, ‘Oh, do you think that we’ll find her? I just want them to find her.’ And that, you know that he’s so smart…. he knows that even if they find her, she’s not coming home. It’s sad,” the actor said.
He continued: “I mean, man, saying that this is sad is the understatement of my life. And then I have to tell him, ‘Oh, she’s an angel now. And she’s with God and she’s in heaven.’ And he says, ‘Well, I want to go there. How do I get there?’ I wouldn’t wish that upon any of your ears to have to hear that, hear those words come out of the sweetest soul you know.”
Dorsey explained that as a result of Josey’s grief, the 5-year-old asked if he could live with his aunt.
“He asks me if Titi can live with us. ‘I want Titi to live with us forever,’ because she’s now the closest thing he has to a mom,” the actor said. “You’re going to need all the help you can get as a single parent trying to build your career and navigate this disaster with your child.”
He then said the situation is “temporary” despite Josey’s request, adding that he couldn’t “deny” his son’s wish in this time of grief.
Dorsey said Nickayla, 26, “put her life on hold” in order to help care for Rivera’s son.
Naya Rivera and Nickayla Rivera
The actor went on to slam the “absurd” rumors that his relationship with Nickayla was romantic.
“S–t man, I wish I was worried about a relationship right now,” he said. “Not thinking about this and living with this every day.”
Nickayla, he said, has also helped him by providing emotional support.
“So when you put your child to bed you don’t always have to be alone with your thoughts and you don’t have to be sad any day or night wondering when does it get better,” Dorsey continued. “At least you have someone there with you to talk to or just sit in silence and be sad with. You don’t have to deal with being completely alone.”
He concluded: “Think twice before they go insert their opinion and jump to conclusions. Think about sending people DM’s wishing death upon strangers who are dealing with so much that they know absolutely zero about.”
Rivera and Dorsey finalized their divorce in 2018 after nearly four years of marriage. She wrote in her 2016 memoir titled, “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up,” that her son was “my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him.”