Thank you so much for the interest and concern for the family of Riley Knight, who so unexpectedly passed Saturday night in a tragic road accident. His loss is massive to our lives, particularly to those of his wife and children.
On behalf of my family, we send our most heart-felt condolences to the family of Linda Darlington who also died in this accident. It seems she was greatly loved by the community of Hobart, Indiana as a teacher of excellence and mother of three. We are deeply saddened for her loved ones. This world lost two amazing people this past Saturday evening and we will continue to search for meaning in that.
We hope this statement along with a press release satiates the media, some who have been quite aggressive in knocking on the doors of, and finding the phone numbers of our grieving loved ones, including continuous calls to Riley's children’s mobile phones. We hope they can take what they need from this statement and allow our family and friends to continue our grieving privately, especially Nikki and their children, who had not been able to go and seek solace in their own home for fear of disturbances.
Indeed, Riley was a beloved man, taking laughter, affection, and a song with him wherever he went. Some of his greatest loves included his wife and children, his country, service to others, and community theatre.
Riley would not want to be remembered as a hero or good samaritan, necessarily. He died doing what he thought any man should do - helping another citizen. We hope that if others take anything away from this loss, it is that laughter, love, and service are how Riley spent ALL of his moments, and the fact that he passed while just being himself is not a news story - it was his life.
While we understand that the sad fact that his passing occurred on the same evening as his wedding is an appealing news story, we know that Riley would not want the focus to be on a "news-worthy headline", but on the thousands of other people suffering losses of loved ones, especially those men and women in service to our country, during the holiday season.
The fact is that Nikki and Riley have been running a household and co-parenting for a number of years. Nikki is not a tragic new bride, she lost her partner this weekend, and she wishes for the freedom to grieve and care for the business of her family. She wishes to be able to be in the home she shared with Riley and expect that she will only be visited by familiar loved ones with genuine concern for her home and children. She wishes for her children to be able to grieve as children do, without being expected to manage statements of expression of their confusing grief or even loving memories of their father to strangers. These amazing kids are forever changed with Riley's absence. This is not a story, it is their lives.
To honor Riley, we will be setting up Memorial Funds in his name for some of his favorite things, or we have these suggestions:
Do something nice for a stranger, a neighbor, another grieving family, or a veteran.
Go support your local community theatre.
Smother your children with love tonight, tomorrow and every day.
Laugh and honor your lover as if it were your wedding night.
In honor of Linda Darlington, give extra thanks for the teachers who care for and nurture the minds of your children.
Go make your own news-worthy headlines and make them good, fun, honorable, affectionate, and full of love.
Do not make your acts of kindness random, make them often and always.
Hoping your holiday season is full of love, laughter, and song, because that's what Riley would want for all of us.
The Family of Riley and Nikki Knight
and their amazing children.