Ryan Dorsey shared a touching collection of photos of his son Josey honoring his late mother, Naya Rivera, on Mother’s Day.
Josey, who was only four years old when he lost his mother in Lake Piru in 2020 before she was found dead after drowning, released a butterfly for Naya and had a sweet message for his mother, from both himself and his Elf on the Shelf, who’s named Bess.
“[Josey] did a Mother’s Day butterfly release for Mama with Grandma and Grammy (& Bess),” Dorsey wrote on Instagram. “Afterwards he held his little elf to the sky with a smile and said: ‘Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven, Mommy.’”
“I’ve been renovating his room and in doing so, the house is a bit of a mess,” Ryan continued, “Bess somehow showed up a couple days ago because I apparently didn’t put it away right… it happened to fall out of a blanket behind a mirror.”
“But for him it was just right…His spirit is incredible…Hug ‘em if ya got ‘em.”
The first few photos show Josey holding Bess up to the sky with his two grandmother’s watching (one of which is FaceTiming from a tablet). After that, you can see the 7-year-old taking butterflies out of a net and releasing them into the air.
The last photo shows Naya reading The Cat in the Hat to her son while lying in bed, both joyfully smiling.
There’s no telling what kind of emotional toll Naya’s disappearance and death had on Josey, seeing as though he was on the boat when she went missing in Lake Piru.
In March, Ryan talked with E! News about how Josey’s life is so much different than that of his classmates, who all are familiar with what happened to his mother.
“A lot of the kids find out what his Dad does for work. They’ll also find out about his Mom, which is always something that’s tough to navigate,” Ryan said at the time. “It’s always a reminder of the obvious. Something that’s never going to change is what happened and him having to deal with it daily.”
“As he crosses these milestones as a kid growing up, kids talk about their moms at school and dealing with his situation is very unique,” he added. “He’s never going to forget his mom.”
Ryan shared that Josey is familiar with Naya’s work and wants to one day watch everything she’s done for acting and understand the “impact she had” on her fans and TV viewers.
“[Josey’s] interested in watching things and looking at her work one day,” he said. “That stuff will speak for itself and he’ll really get to appreciate the impact she had on people and how talented she was and who his Mom was on the outside, not just in his home life.”