"There are no words to describe what we're going through," Rivera's mom, Yolanda Previtire said. "All we know is we have each other."
Naya Rivera went missing on July 8, 2020, at California's Lake Piru, after she had spent the day with her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, who was 4 at the time. When Rivera failed to return the boat she'd rented for the day, the search began for Rivera and Josey. Eventually, they found the little boy alone in the boat, with his life jacket on, but Rivera was nowhere to be seen.
According to Good Morning America, the Glee actor's body was found five days later. The then 33-year-old Rivera was laid to rest on July 24, after her death had been ruled as an accidental drowning.
Though it's been a year since her unfortunate death, mom Yolanda Previtire remembers the last time she spoke to her daughter, via a video call, on the "beautiful morning" Rivera and Josey went for their ill-fated boat ride.
"I missed two of her FaceTime calls, and I called her back. And we had a beautiful conversation. The sun was kissing her face and she was just beautiful," she said, her voice breaking, per E! Online. "She had a white, beautiful swimming suit on and she was glowing."
She even took screenshots of her daughter and grandson enjoying their time. But, she couldn't get clear images, and she told her daughter "the water's gettin' choppy" and advised them to go to a cove as the water tends to be "a little bit calmer" there. Before hanging up, she instructed her daughter to "call when you get off the water."
Sadly, that call never came. However, the photos proved to be useful as they helped the search teams scour the area to find Rivera.
"Thank God I took the pictures because they were able to look at the topography of the land to locate where they were," she said. The grieving mother also revealed that the sadness associated with losing Rivera 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," Previtire said. "All we know is we have each other." The family has taken up therapy to help cope with the shared trauma, revealed Previtire.
Rivera's younger sister, Nickayla Rivera said that what keeps them going is 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."
"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," said Rivera's youngest brother, Mychal, via a statement.
The only piece of advice the woman has for fans of her daughter is to "love life."
"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," she said. "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," she said. "And here we are."
"I would like my daughter Naya's legacy to be one that teaches people to love, to care. If something is not right, try to fix it or speak up," she said. "And to just live life. God has given you one life. You are your own person. Love who you are, 'cause you don't get another life," Previtire concluded.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto