Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Father's Death

I have been following this story since the family was first reported missing Thanksgiving weekend.
When they were rescued, Kim's family told authorities that he struck out on Saturday to find help, wearing tennis shoes, pants and a heavy coat, but no hat. His family said he had some outdoor experience, and authorities said he was carrying two lighters.

He had a specific plan: He would leave early Saturday morning, go back the way the family came, and if he couldn't find anyone, he would return in a few hours. Just before 8 a.m. Saturday, his family said, he left to carry it out.

I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out the mother and two daughters were alive and actually in good condition after 9 days. Both James' and Kati's cool heads managed to get Kati and her daughters through a harrowing ordeal virtually unscathed.

James however did not. He traveled an extraordinary amount of distance in mountainous terrain, attempting to locate help. I'm sure after being stranded for 9 days, he felt there was no choice. When he was found, he had a note clenched in his hand asking for help for his wife and children. He died trying to save those he loved.

The saddest part of his death, however, is what was most likely going through his mind at the end. He never knew that his family had been rescued and were all well. He died thinking he had failed his family.

But never once did he fail them. His actions, along with his wife's, during the entire ordeal ensured the survival of Kati and the children.

While he may have died despairing, he will not be remembered that way. He will be remembered as a man with a fierce love for his family and a determination to do whatever it took to save them.

He was a son, and a husband, and a father.