I never returned to North Korea, and I never saw my family again. A few years later, I heard from a well-placed South Korean minister that my family had been sent to a gulag and murdered, the innocent victims of my treasonous crime. To this day, I know nothing of the details of their deaths, or whether they blamed me as they perished.
I ache when I imagine what Kim Jong Il did to my family. So many times, I’ve imagined killing him and then killing myself. Countless days and nights I have pounded my chest with guilt and grief, unable to forgive myself for the ghastly fate that I have brought my beloved wife — my lifelong companion — our daughters and son, their spouses, and even our dear grandchildren.