Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Open Letter to Media, Public, Friends and Family: 12-14-13 The Happiest and Hardest of Winter Days

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.

With Affection,
The Family of Riley and Nikki Knight 
and their amazing children.


  1. God Bless you guys. We are all here for you if you need us!

    Missy and Scott Humpfer

  2. God bless your family as you grieve the loss of this wonderful man. Everyone could learn a lot from the way he lived his life. It sounds like he touched many lives and helped people along the way. I would pray that the people reading his story would be a bit more caring in their own lives and more willing to help a stranger or a friend in need. God surely has two more angels with him.

  3. Love - always love - and time and space to grieve and heal - Thank you for helping to put perspective on this that we all struggle to comprehend.

  4. The most beautiful thing I have ever read and worthy of someone as only Riley could be!! I will never forget his energy, sass, or back stage antics...I will always remember his hugs, slyness, and his amazing voice...it is my honor to have the memories I do and will always wish for more. Love and healing to all who are touched in this loss!

  5. Beautiful. How lovely to honor Linda too.
    ...LCHS class of '90 grad

  6. Keeping you all in my prayers. Such a beautiful heartfelt statement. I pray you are allowed to grieve and live your lives in peace.

  7. My family is keeping your families in our prayers. May you find the peace you need.

  8. This was so eloquently written. May God be the families and friends of Riley and Linda
    ~~~an 85 LCHS grad

  9. Prayers and thoughts sent to your entire families.
    Chris Lawrence
    High School Friend of Riley

  10. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The Griffith Izaak Walton also has you all in our prayers.

  11. This is beautiful.Your suggestions will make a difference in the world as you and Riley have. I didn't know him , but he seems like a wonderful father and man. May he rest in peace and may you and your children find time to heal your hearts. My prayers are with you my friend.
    Ana Reyes

  12. What an amazing man. I pray his wife, children, friends, and family find peace and healing in their hearts. I believe his memory and the way he lived his life has and will continue to make this world a better place.

  13. Thank You For Writing This , Linda's Family Is Going Through The Same Thing With The Press It Is Just Horrible. Many Thanks To Riley For Trying To Help Linda We Feel Just Awful Knowing That He Lost His Life While Doing So. I Also Would Like To Say We Are Paying For Those Driving The Cars As We Know Their Burdens Must Be Heavy. God Bless Us One And All, Drive Safely

  14. This letter to the media is very well written. It gets to the point that is we should all be kind to each other at all times... not just randomly. Riley was caught doing just that, being a kind and hororable man. May his Memory be Always for a Blessing. May his family have the Freedom to find Peace, Especially of this extreme time. My thoughts and prayers will be with his Family and Friends as they honor him today. Even though i had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing him on stage, i don't feel i know Nikki or their families enough to intrude on their pain. i hope the Media has the same respect for their privacy. My heart goes out to all that are grieving at this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. I didn't know Riley or Linda, but since the accident I've learned that I have friends closely connected to both of them. I've been following their stories with a heavy heart while marveling at the reach they had in their lives. Thank you for taking the time to issue this statement. I hope it allots everyone grieving these horrible losses some much-deserved peace and time to reflect and grieve. I am so, so sorry.