Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Day Without Sun

Some days the sun just seems inappropriate. Loud. Brash. A trying-to-be-cheerful shout in the room of a migraine sufferer. On most days, I love the sun. I crave it. But today I found myself wincing as I thought of Kati Kim and her daughters and how unwelcome the sun must have been. The body of James Kim, their husband and father, was found yesterday, just one mile from where their car was stranded in the mountains of Oregon during a blizzard.

For six days they huddled in the car--mom, dad and two daughters, one four years old, one just seven months. I don't know if I feel such a connection to this story because of our two daughters, or because there were so many times that I've taken a wrong turn, or simply because, put in the same situation, I would hope that I would be strong enough to do what James and Kati Kim did. And they did everything right: They stayed together, Kati nursing both girls to keep them alive; they stayed with the car, using the heater at night until they ran out of gas. During the day, they started fires with magazines, wet wood, and--finally--the car tires, in an attempt to stay warm and to attract attention.

Rescuers found Kati and the girls two days after James left to find help. Then they followed the markers that he dropped along the way: an extra pair of pants, part of a map, a skirt belonging to his daughter. He even had a note with him describing where his family could be found, asking for help. The Oregon police say that James walked a 10 mile loop through the cold and snow, at one point swimming across a stream.

Four days after he left, two days after his family had been rescued, James Kim's body was found. And still the sun dared to shine.

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