While on a writing assignment, Joshua Hunt travels to Mount Fear in Japan to remember and grieve for his Uncle Bill, a man who knew how to keep him connected to their extended family living in the aftermath of intergenerational trauma in Alaska.

I was meant to visit him three weeks after he left that message, but on the morning of my flight to Juneau, Alaska, I tested positive for COVID-19. I’d contracted the virus while working on a story in New Mexico—my first profile for the magazine I hoped to impress by flying halfway around the world to interview a novelist. While listening to old messages from my uncle, I dwelled bitterly on two unfulfilled promises I had made when calling to say I couldn’t make it home in January: the first was that I would get to Alaska and see him again soon; the second was that he was going to love the profile I had been working on in New Mexico. It ended up being published ten days after he died.