This month, the 5-year-old boy will mark his first Christmas without his mother, who drowned in California's Lake Piru in July at age 33 while boating and swimming with her son and getting him to safety. On Saturday, Dec. 5, Ryan, 37, posted on his Instagram Story videos of him and Josey driving home with a Christmas tree, with the child smiling in the backseat while dancing along to Andy Williams' classic holiday hit "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
He later posted on his regular Instagram feed a heartwarming father-son photo showing him holding the child, who is placing a silver star on the top of their newly trimmed Christmas tree. Ryan wrote, #HappyHolidays to all. You, you, and even you, all of ya. Hope you get nothing but happiness...Except you. I'm talking to you, 2020. #f***2020."
After Naya's passing, Ryan filed a wrongful death lawsuit and became Josey's legal guardian. He confirmed in an Instagram video in September that the actress' sister, Nickayla Rivera, is also living with them temporarily to help raise the boy, at the child's request. In September, they and other family members gathered to celebrate Josey's birthday, his first without his mom.
"You know he's so smart and you know he witnessed a nightmare right before his eyes," Ryan wrote. "Then when you're with him every day during this, with his grandpas, and his grandmas, and his aunts and his uncles, and his whole family, and all you have is each other to lean on and to cry with, and you go through this nightmare. It's sad."
Ryan continued, "The reality hits you and the grieving can start, but the sadness gets heavier because you know you're going to have to have conversation one on one with a little boy and tell him about our new reality."
Ryan added that he told Josey his mom was in heaven now, and that the boy asked, "Well, I want to go there. How do I get there?" Ryan said on Instagram, "I wouldn't wish that upon any of your ears to have to hear those words come out of the sweetest soul you know."