December 7, 2006

Midnight Spirals

I haven’t written about the James and Kati Kim ordeal even though it’s been on my mind every day. Honestly, I think I was holding my breath until it was over one way or another. In the past few days, I’ve received emails from at least 5 people with a subject line that was some variation of “scary”.

We took the same trip. San Francisco to Seattle and back. The same weekend. The same Korean man/Caucasian woman demographic. We avoided the snow storm that trapped them. The only difference for us was we drove further into Oregon on Sunday. Thus when the storm came through early Monday, we had different driving options. Honestly, it was only due to Jrex’s diligence and research that we figured out the clearest road to take into California. I often get impatient with what I perceive to be his paranoia—taking 45 minutes to lock up the house before we leave for vacation. Always double-checking that the automatic car lock worked. Adding 2,000 extra bungie chords when we attach the bikes to the bike rack on the car. It makes me start repeating, “It’ll be fine, don’t worry about it!” It’s what I was doing on Monday morning when he insisted we buy tire chains. “We won’t hit snow, don’t worry about it.” But late at night, I start running ‘what if’ scenarios.

What if it had been me suggesting we try a short-cut? What if it had been him insisting on one? What if I kept saying, "It's fine!" and then we got stuck? What if I’d read the map wrong? What would the conversation have been like in the car? How would we have left things? Would my family, or his, have thought of hiring our own helicopters? If he’d gone for help, would he have made it? What if he were dead now? I think I often move through life with a subconscious notion that I have an immunity clause. Life keeps punching at it, but I don’t know if I truly believe it’s not there. But this whole deal reminded me that it’s a narrow veil between what seems like ordinary life and unimaginable tragedy.

I’m so glad I still have the heavy warmth of our relationship to pull around me, and so sad for Kati and her girls that hers has been ripped away.

8 comments:

otr sister said...

It makes me realize that we need to be more diligent about touching base after trips. If you hadn't called for a week after getting home I would have thought nothing of it.

Everytime I read an article about the Kim family I start crying. The police were shocked by how far James managed to hike given he hadn't eaten for a week. He tried so hard to save his wife and kids.

Rachel said...

I think the story resonated for a lot of us. I prayed for him, and I was devastated when I heard the news. So sad for his wife and kids.

Beloved said...

Actually, I was thinking of you when I heard the story of James and Kati because you had taken such a similar trip recently.

I've been so sad about what happened. I guess I feel closer to it because in some way I can identify with this couple.

I'm sure that even in death, James Kim will save lives because his story is a wake-up call to many (myself included) who travel unprepared. It's so cliche but it's so much better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard about the tragedy of the Kim
family coming back from Seattle. But one
of my housemates had seen the story on
TV. I'm so glad he didn't comment that
James Kim had died in an Oregon blizzard.

It was better to be informed through your
blog.

What a terrible event. But, I'm grateful that
the trip taught you to appreciate your husband's
thoroughness. You think he suffers from the
sin of scrupulosity. Now you can be more
patient with him.

It's a sad reality that you've moved into the
ring of fire. The West can still be very wild.
You're no longer in Kansas, Dorothy.
husband suffers from the sin of scrupulosity.

Maria said...

the story resonated for me too and I mentioned it to MJ and we were kind of quiet. All I could think about is that in the same situation I'm sure MJ would do the same.

I'm praying for Kati and the girls and thankful that you are safe and warm.

bg's Little Sis said...

I thought of you and JRex when the Kim's story was in the news, remembering your recent trip that sounded so much similar. What a very sad event, I too have kept the family in my prayers. The bravery that the family showed in the face of such adversary was amazing to me, I can only hope that in a similar situation, I would know what to do.

Glad you are both well.

-lil'sis

Snickollet said...

I thought of you and your husband when this story was unfolding, and of my family in Oregon, too.

I'm glad you and JRex are safe and warm in CA and that my family is safe and warm in Oregon.

Mama Nabi said...

When I first saw it on the news, I did briefly wonder, especially the J in Jrex... but James worked for CNet not a university lab so...
It truly is tragic, I still sob at my desk reading about it.

On the other hand, I am thankful that you and Jrex stayed safe... would miss you too much!