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.