Naya Rivera’s Mom Tearfully Recalls Final Words With Her Daughter
Following her tragic death in July 2020, Naya Rivera‘s sister is opening up about trying to cope with her loss.
On Jan. 10, Nickayla Rivera posted a video to her YouTube channel, titled, “allow me to reintroduce myself.” In the almost 10-minute upload, Nickayla shared details of her close bond with her late sister, including memories of their childhood and time growing up together.
“My family and I experienced a tragic loss in July of 2020, my sister Naya passed away,” she said. “And when that happened, I was in complete shock. My whole family was in complete shock. It was like someone pulled the rug from under us and we didn’t see it coming. The dark place that I was in before only progressed when that happened. At that time, I had no thoughts of my future. I had no thoughts of myself really. I was only just experiencing pain.”
On July 13, 2020, after a five-day search at Lake Piru in California, Naya was confirmed dead by authorities, with her official cause of death ruled as accidental.
The Glee alum was first reported missing during a boating trip with her son, Josey, who was 4 years old at the time. She was 33 years old.
In the weeks following her passing, Nickayla penned a tribute in her sister’s honor.
“There are no words to describe my love for you,” she captioned a July 25 Instagram photo of her and Naya. “Side-by-side or miles apart, our connection is infinite. Our bond is unbreakable. We were complete opposites, yet simultaneously the same. The yin to my yang. I never knew that by losing you, I would find so much of you in myself.”
And in the time since, as Nickayla explained in her recent YouTube video, she has learned to take things one step at a time.
“I realized that the pain that I was experiencing, wasn’t going to go anywhere until I decided to find the good in this world,” she shared. “So, from then on, I went on this journey of discovering who I was. I started by quitting my vape that I had been smoking for two years. I had picked it up in New York and I knew that it was because of stress. And I was doing it so much that I wanted to stop immediately but I kept buying them over and over again. Because I had such an attachment to that. And quitting. That was really hard. But when I did, I felt so empowered.”
“I felt like I could do anything after that,” she continued. “I picked up journaling and started writing about my feelings. I started therapy. I said no to doing a lot of things that I didn’t want to do, but normally would for other people. I started putting myself first. I became mindful and observed how I felt each day.”