UPDATE: Ventura County Sheriff has confirmed that the body found is that of Naya Rivera.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know Naya Rivera and I can still grieve for her.
I remember her from Glee. Santana Lopez was my least favorite character but I was a fan nonetheless of how she brought that character to life, especially because I myself am a queer Latina. And oh lord did she give her all to every song that she sang on that show. Sometimes it even left you feeling like you just witnessed something extraordinary. And you did.
Honestly, I’ve barely heard much about her and the work she’s been doing since then. But the fact remains, I was a fan of her, her work, and wished her the best when I found out that she had a kid. It’s what you do when a little one is brought into this world and it was clear from every photo posted that Naya loved her boy dearly.
The news of her disappearance (and recently confirmed death) is scary, heartbreaking, and grief inducing. Because even if we didn’t know Naya as anything more than her fans, we knew her as a human being, just trying to make it through this life while making the best of her days for her son. And it’s ok to grieve for her, worry for her, and feel like your world has been flipped upside down just a bit.
No one can tell you that you were “just a fan” and “to get over it” aka words I’ve seen online when a celebrity passes or disappears like Naya did. They meant something to you. Maybe for Naya, you connected with her characters journey, her transformation, and the life she ended up having on Glee.
Whatever it is that Naya meant to you and the feelings that you are dealing with now, they are all valid. And I feel silly writing this but it’s necessary because fans matter, especially when they’ve made a connection to an actor they admire, aspire to be like, and hope is well. And no one can tell you otherwise.
This goes to fans like me who fell out of touch with what Naya Rivera has been up to these last couple of years or since Glee ended. I can still grieve for he and send all the love and positivity I can to her family and those closest to her. And you can too.
That’s what it means to be human, to connect with others, and to grieve for a mother who just went out to spend the day with her son, never knowing that this might be the last time or last set of moments that she would spend with him. So, grieve. Work through your feelings and don’t let anyone tell you that just because you’re a fan, doesn’t mean that you can’t grieve the loss of a human being.