I didn't know James Kim, the 35-year-old San Francisco man who died in the Oregon wilderness trying to find help for his stranded wife and daughters. Over the years, I suppose I may have read one of his reviews of high-tech gizmos on the CNET.com site, where he was an editor.
Yet, seeing the picture of the missing Kim family last week really struck a chord with me. I anxiously scanned the newspaper each morning, checked the Web for updates, even turned on the evening news -- and I hate TV news. I alternated between hope and fear when Kati Kim and the two children were rescued, and the search for James dragged on.
I guess it's easiest to empathize with people you identify with. People with young children, people who go on car trips, people who rely on cell phones and downloaded directions to navigate unfamiliar places --it was hard not to see ourselves in the plight of this young family on a vacation gone horribly awry.
Particularly for my family. I've got a handsome Asian-American husband and a spunky hapa-haole (half-white) daughter. We live in a time and place where mixed race marriages are not remarkable, but we don't often see families like ours, where Daddy is Asian and Mommy is white.
We've got our own short-hand for the phenomenom -- "some" couples and "lots" couples, because there are lots of Asian women with white men, and while there aren't many Asian men with white women, there are some.
Seeing the faces of that "some' couple, and knowing that their beautiful kids will grow up without their father really did a number on my heartstrings.