Author’s Note:
Originally written in December 2006 as a tribute and obituary to my all-time favourite CNET reviewer who died while trying to save his family. Migrated here.

About two weeks ago on 24 November, James Kim, 35, a senior editor at CNET for MP3 and gadgets went with his wife and two daughters for a holiday to the beach. The family was expected to return to San Francisco on November 27. When both James and Kati failed to show up for appointments on November 28, co-workers began to worry for their safety. The Kims are known for keeping in touch daily with their friends and co-workers, either by phone or e-mail. After this time, a full-scale search effort were brought out to find the missing Kim family. Until many days, nothing was heard from the family and the situation was starting to look grim. Then on the ninth day (4 December), a helicopter pilot found the Kim’s car and managed to rescue Kim’s 30-years old wife, Kati and their two daughters, Penelope (4 years) and Sabine (7 months).

It turns out that James went out of the car two days before, on the seventh day, to look for help for his family. He planned to go to the town of Galice, which he thought was four miles away but was actually closer to 15. Then the heart-wrenching story of James Kim’s ordeal began. He built a fire for Kati and his children and says that he would return by midday. Then, by 7.45am, he went out of the car and went on foot to travel the miles, hoping to save his family.

He would never return.

Kati Kim Rescued

I just can’t imagine how it could have been for James to leave his family, looking for hope and survival, but maybe at the same time realizing that there is a chance that he might never be able to see him again. How painful it must have been for his wife Kati and his two daughters to see him walk away in the chilling snow and fade away in the distance, realizing that it might be the last image they will ever see of their beloved husband and father, though they earnestly pray that it will not happen. And can you imagine how she must have felt when she and her daughters were rescued but James was not back with them yet? When I saw the picture above, I totally cried. It potrays a great deal of emotion that speaks a thousand words. She must have been relieved that she and her daughters were safe, but at the same time she must have thought “James, we’re safe. Where are you? Come back. Please.”

But not all story would have their happy endings.

James’ body was found lying in a body of water two days after, on the eleventh day. He died of hypothermia. The local authorities said that his efforts was “superhuman”. Under a weather condition where the cold was a minus degree Celcius and the rain was strong where rescuers with protective gears cannot be out there more than 30 minutes without getting soaking wet, James, with plain clothing, walked for a little more than 16 miles before succumbing to the cold numb. His love for his family and his hope for his safety kept him moving forward until the end. The tragic part of the story was that he was only one mile away from a fishing lodge stocked with food where he could have found warmth and safety.

This is a true story of a father who gave everything for his family and this have touched the hearts of many readers across the United Stated who followed this story for the past weeks. When I saw this, I remembered Jesus. His love for us was the one thing that keep Him going until the end, until He died on the cross for us, alone and rejected. How James must also have felt and what could be the last thing that he saw and thought during his last hours? This story reminds me of the meaning of true love and sacrifice, and this time, it is so real, it is not a movie, it is not just a story, this is real, very real, just as real as you and me now.

I heard from a sermon a while ago that true love is “loving until it hurts”. That’s what sacrifice is all about. I don’t know if someday I can be a great, loving husband and father like James Kim, but I will reach out to be, as he has given to us an example. Just like our Savior who died two thousand years ago in the cross out of love (this reminds me to a scene in Narnia between Aslan and the White Witch where she said “so much for love” during Aslan’s sacrifice). Thank you James for setting to us a great example. You will be missed and may you rest in peace.

I knew James from his gadgetry video reviews on CNET. His review was the actual reason why I bought my Creative Zen Vision:M two months ago and chose it over an iPod 5.5G. A great man, I will sorely miss him…

News Stories:
Timeline | James Kim’s Path | James Kim found deceased | Wife and daughters found

Journal Entries:
In Memoriam: James Kim (1971-2006) | A story of hope and disappointment (make sure you read this!)

Dedicated to the memory of James Kim and his loved ones.