A Ture Story of Hope through Unimaginable Loss Part One
. Personal Development
. Self Growth
. Spirituality & Consciousness
. Health & Well Being
At age eleven, Kim had vast experience snowshoeing in the feet-deep east coast, Canadian snow before moving to, what seemed like another planet, a Southern California town near the beach.
This early experience gave her the ability to adapt to her new situation and environment. This move helped build her determination and resilience to work toward not only accepting but thriving even through - an unexpected and unimaginable tragedy.
Kim now sees life through a different lens. She courageously shares her experience and new-found wisdom through her first book and memoir, Where Yellow Flowers Bloom. A heartfelt testament of a mother’s love and a wife’s devotion in the midst of sudden loss and trauma, with an enlightened perspective on mortality. Through her patience, perseverance, and willingness to be open to help and to heal, she confirms love’s ability to connect and transcend beyond life.
Kim hopes her story can show others, especially those affected by trauma and grief, the power of determination and resilience, and the importance of looking for positivity when at times it seems impossible to find.
Gift: For the first 10 listeners who subscribe, rate and share this episode (take a screen shot) and email email@example.com for a ebook of Kim's book.
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Intro: Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom podcast. A journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools, and strategies to inspire and empower you to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion, and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your host. Create the life you love. Empowerment. Life Coach Moira Sutton.
Moira: Season Four Episode 80 a true story of hope through unimaginable loss with our very special guest author, Kim Cantin. At age eleven, Kim had vast experience snowshoeing in the feet deep east coast Canadian snow before moving to what seemed like another planet, a southern California town near the beach. This early experience gave Kim the ability to adapt to new situations and environments. This move helped build her determination and resilience to work towards not only accepting, but writhing even through this event, an unexpected and unimaginable tragedy. Kim now sees life through a different lens. You'll hear that through her voice. She courageously shares her experience. And you found wisdom through her first book and memoir, where Yellow Flowers Bloom, a heartfelt testament of a mother's love and a wife's devotion in the midst of sudden loss and trauma. With an enlightened perspective on mortality. Through her patience, perseverance, and willingness to be open, to help and to heal, she confirms love's ability to connect and transcend beyond life. Kim hopes her story can show other people, especially those people who are affected by trauma and grief, which we have in the world right now. The power of determination and resilience and the importance of looking for positivity when at times it seems impossible to find. So, without further ado, it is my pleasure to give a warm welcome and introduce you to Kim Canton. Welcome, Kim.
Kim: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Moira: Your story, I'll tell you, I haven't slept for since I started researching. I'm dreaming about this. I told the neighbors about it. A lot of people are going to be listening to your story and you giving them hope. As you said, that's part of your you want to help, especially those affected by trauma and grief.
Moira: As I said, there's a lot of people in the world that are going through that. So, this is going to be great. We're going to dive in because I know we're on a time schedule and if I need to have you back, I'm going to.
Kim: Great. Thank you so much.
Moira: You're welcome. So, Kim, when did you really decide that you wanted to write this memoir? And how did you develop and find that courage to share this personal story of one of resilience, determination, and love? Where did you find that within yourself and when was that defining moment?
Kim: Yeah, it actually happened around COVID. Right prior to that, we were busy. We're out doing the search. I was reestablishing a house, buying all new mattress, a couch, everything healing, getting to trauma appointments, therapy appointments, everything, getting my daughter to school and COVID hit, right. And we were all shut in our homes. And it became the time when it was just Lauren and I, before she had a lot of friends come over. We had a lot of people over to surround us. And it became just her and I, the family of two versus a family of four. And since we had time on our hands, I'm like, I'm going to start writing because I didn't want to forget what had happened and I wanted it for my future family, her kids one day, my grandkids, my grandkids kids one day, right? And so, I started writing it, and then I said, I got to get it all down. And then as I did it, it was reflective for me. I got to see I went from a real desperate grief, right. I have to find my son's remains out there so often. And then I saw as I wrote the book, that and time was happening. I saw more of a peaceful adaptation or integration of the losses that I endured in me. And then as I did that, I said, you know what? This might help some other people going through a tough time because I'm the portrait of bad, right. Like, half my family gets killed overnight, house washes away. My daughter and I are severely injured. Bad things to happen that we checked a lot of boxes. I just got reflective, and I saw that we were trying to move forward and taking the lessons we'd learned with us.
Moira: That's wonderful. It became like your bigger vision in your life.
Kim: Yeah. Because I wanted to. There's a book, I think, by Frankel. It's like, man's, search for meaning. And one of the things he and it's a pretty established book is he says if something bad happened, if you can find a way to put purpose around it, it gives some meaning. Right. And so, I gave a talk the other weekend and people came up to me after the talk and they're like, I really needed to hear this. And so, I think that puts for me, like the book, people have given me feedback. I needed this or it gave me access to my grief, or it gave me a different way to look at life and put things in perspective. They said they needed it. So that has been such it's been wonderful for me to hear because that's what I want. If something terrible happens, how do you make good out of it? How do you make lemonade out of lemons?
Moira: And it's easier said than done. So, when you're sharing, really from your heart and soul and sharing this wisdom that you've experienced for this whole time, that people need to hear it from you. They need to hear the story from you, not somebody just speaking. They know that you've gone through this. And that's very different when somebody hears the personal story. Let's go back to so if we can give the listeners sort of when this started that so let's go back to the Thomas Fires in California and where your home was located. And I think you didn't have any concerns that your house would be affected by what happened. Let's just go through that briefly. Sure.
Kim: So briefly, right at the time, the Thomas Fire was the then largest wildfire in California's history. And it roared over, I think, 300 acres. So, a lot of terrain in the hills behind Ventura heading towards Santa Barbara. During the time we evacuated three times, we put out our phones. It was something like an Amber Alert. It was called a where and beware. It was an alert single. You get on your computer and your phone of what you need to do, do you need to evacuate, whatever you have to do. And so, during the Thomas Fire, we got those blasts, and we evacuated three times. And we thought our house might burn down, but it didn't. Right. And we got back and that was in December of 2017. And we got back to our home finally on December 22, right before Christmas. And it was the Christmas that wasn't was the mailboxes were all taped up, so none of the gifts could arrive. But we had each other and it was terrific. That's all we cared about, right, is our family of four. And just we were pretty exhausted from the scare of the Thomas Fire. But the Thomas Fire took out all the foliage in the mountains. Right. So, you've got a mountain now that doesn't have its root system and shrubbery that's holding the mountain in place. And there's car size boulders. And so, you would see up on the hillside, car size boulders sitting precariously on that hillside near homes. And when I looked at those homes near the boulders, I'm like, Gosh, I feel so bad for them. But our home was down in the village, and we kept watching our aware and beware and we weren't in mandatory evacuation. So, in January, heavy rain was forecasted, which is not good, heavy rain when the mountain doesn't have all the right. And so, we prepped the house sandbags, made sure the drains were flowing right, and we even had a hotel room scheduled. And the car staged that. If it got heavy rain, we told the kids, hey, we've got a hotel room, we'll get out of Dodge. Well, we didn't. We weren't able to get out of Dodge in time because at about 330 in the morning, we were awoken to heavy rain. My husband went out to check on it. It was torrential. I think it was half an inch in 15 minutes, which is so excessive. The eagle song. It doesn't rain in California. It pours. It poured. So, we were up trying to get dressed and get out. And the mud ended up at my waist. At the time that the aware and beware blast went off my phone saying, get to high ground. So, it was a little too late and more mud ran in. A 30-foot wave hit our house, obliterated our house with our family in it. I washed away two football fields found in an intersection, wrapped in electrical wires, severely injured. My daughter, 14 at the time, was washed away one football field away and was buried alive under 20ft of mud, part of a roof, a couple of cars for 6 hours until her miraculous rescue shown around the world. She had a pocket of air in front of her mouth that enabled her to breathe. It was size of a half a volleyball. And there was a little straw size hole that went to the outside. And most tragically, my 49-year-old husband wasn't in the house. He ran outside. I think he saw the wave coming and he was trying to get us to get out, get out, get out, but we just couldn't because the mud came in so fast. He was found dead at the beach. He went a mile and a half. And my 17-year-old son Jack, he died as well. But he was one of the missing 23 people died that night, two of which were considered missing. A two-year-old little girl, Lydia, and my son Jack. And then after that, and after getting out of the hospital, I was there about three weeks and had to learn to walk again. I started to engage on the search, and it was pretty ominous in the mudslide covered 30 sq.
Moira: Well, let's go back to a couple of things there because that was a lot of information there in 1 minute. Kemp first of all, you were there, I think it's six long dark hours laying trapped in the mud. And did you think you had died, and you went unconscious for a while and then you became conscious, and that was really a gift in itself, I would think that you could not be thinking, oh my God, where's my family? And all the rest? Was it like total fear what was going through your body and your emotions at the time?
Kim: Okay, so, yeah, I got knocked out, which I think was a gift. And then when I started to come to, I remember saying to myself, am I in heaven? I knew something really bad had happened. I remembered I went under the mud, and I took my last breath of air, which was mud, not air, and the pain of being hit by everything. And then I kind of felt on my body with my one hand that could work. And I felt like a spray bottle. And I go, I don't think there's spray bottles in heaven. I'm not in heaven. And then I pride my eyes open because I had opened them under the mud, and so the corneas were scratched, and I could kind of make out, and I kind of felt like maybe I was in my backyard because I saw some big trees, and I'm like, well, maybe I'm somewhere in my backyard. And I recognized I was just laying flat, but at an angle. So, my head was angled down, and it was like a decimated war zone. I heard roaring water on my left side of the pile I was on, and then I saw live electrical wires waving to my right and a transformer exploding. And I'm like, I'm glad I'm trapped, because if I move, I could die. And so, I just tried to I was terrified. I said the Lord's Prayer about 20 times just to calm my soul. Just to calm my soul. And I probably went in and out of consciousness a bit. And then when I was in it a little bit later, I saw a red light and a red light red and a white light, as if like an ambulance, but it wasn't spinning like an ambulance, but I'd like them. That someone's there. So, I yelled for help, and then someone I heard clumping up the pile, and he goes, this is Garrett. I've come to get you. I hear you.
Moira: That must have been just like, oh, my God. God's hurt me, or whatever your faith is.
Kim: But I was in so much shock. I was in so much I had just been spun around in a mudslide, and I was severely injured, and I was just in shock.
Moira: I think I think you mentioned later on, part of your team that helped you, I think her name was Sherry, that her house was swept away, and she was swept away on, like, a mattress with two kids. She just told her kids to hold on, and they waved. They rode the mud. This literally the title of your book, they're like, it's unimaginable.
Kim: It is, yeah. She grabbed her boys. She saw it coming, threw them on the mattress, said, hold on as tight as you can, and they rode that mattress as their house was being destroyed, and it ended up on the roof of another house.
Moira: Wow. So, after you were taken to the hospital, they found your daughter, and as you said, which was a miracle, because how far deep she was found under the mud? 20ft under mud with a car refrigerator, like you're saying, electrical, transformer, truck, and her all the way, 20ft under that mud.
Moira: So, when you found out that they found her and she was at another hospital again, what was going through your mind? Were you then thinking, where's Dave? Where's Jack? Oh, I'm hearing Lawrence over there.
Kim: Yeah. I remember vividly as I was laying on the table, they put lidocaine jelly all over my body as they were trying to clean it up because I was so injured and looked like someone took a wire brush to the front and back of me. I heard my eyes were closed, and I heard the swinging door open in the room I was with in the Er, and I think it was the director of the nursing. And she said, do you have a daughter named Lauren? And I said yes. And they said they just rescued her. And I can even feel it now. My shoulders relaxed, going, thank God. Thank God. I was just like, thank God. And then it went to, okay, when I'm going to hear about my husband? And when am I going to hear about my son? Right. And so it was just shock, but absolute shoulder relaxing relief.
Moira: Hearing about Lauren, and then when they brought her over the next day to your hospital, I remember reading that the nurses sort of put like, a bandana on you of that because they didn't want her so freaked out and looking at her mom.
Kim: They put a scarf on me around my head. They tried to put on some lipstick. I mean, I was eggplant purple. And that was terrifying for her, right?
Kim: She didn't know where her dad and her brother were. She's going to see her mom, who just looks like she's been just beaten to a pulp and couldn't move.
Moira: And she's still just at the beginning of processing what just happened.
Kim: Being buried alive.
Moira: Being buried alive.
Kim: And she was conscious the whole time. She would push on the walls of her entombment, and it wouldn't budge. Can you imagine pushing on mud and debris and it's not budging and you're buried alive?
Kim: 6 hours.
Moira: No, I can't. Just thinking about that when I really go into that feeling in my own body, it freaks me out because the idea trapped in muddy bending, you can't move, and she could move her fingers, and that's it, I think. Wow. Yes. So, when Lawrence two rescuers came to visit you in the hospital, I think fire Captain Ben, he told you that this was a miracle, that the direction you pointed them to from your debris pile led them straight to Lawrence. How did you know that direction? Like, how did you figure that out?
Kim: You know what? I think there was angels doing that because I was on a pile. I thought I was in my backyard, and I wasn't. I was in an intersection. So, I kind of thought, okay, if in my backyard, then that means behind me is the house, right? So that's where to look for Lauren. So, I just raised my hand and I pointed, but miraculously, I pointed to the pile that she was in 100 yards up. I really believe we got help that night, Lauren and I got help to survive swimming with car sized boulders and live electrical wires and shards from all the windows that broke in the houses that were destroyed, 62 houses were completely obliterated, 400 homes damaged. We were swimming with that, right. The granite, the bricks that were the boulders, those boulders, the boulders that were the size of a VW bug. And we survived. So I think, really, truly, angels helping us. And angel somehow pointing my finger to exactly where she was. And Ben was stunned. He's like, you just pointed right where she was.
Moira: And you've had as we're going to continue this interview, and it might be two parts, Kim, because I want people to really hear it from you. So, a big part of me doesn't want to rush it because I told you at the beginning I had you in for two parts. There's so much I didn't want to miss out. And so even today, we're just going to go, like you said, with the flow. So, we know that you both physical, mental, emotional trauma. Where did it start at the beginning of the healing? Then you got help, you got some therapy. What would you say to other people who are experienced grief or trauma? Where would you say to them? Where did it begin? Would you say, Go get help? Would you say, I would?
Kim: Because that's what I said to Lauren. I said, Lauren, we've never been through anything like this before, anything, and we're going to need a lot of help. I didn't know what the help would be, but I knew we needed a lot of help. We had trauma, we had grief, we had everything. And so, I was just open to and people would come and in the hospital, like, they say, you need to go to this, or you need to go do this, and they would really some of the experts, the surgeons or whatever, they would kind of guide me to where I needed to go. And so, we were just open to it and we just signed up for it all. We did the EMDR trauma therapy, which is tapping therapy for PTSD. We've done somatic touch work to get us back into our nervous systems that got really impacted from this. We've done talk therapy. I've done Reiki therapy. I stopped working, right? I couldn't go back to work. So, my job I viewed my job was to work on this, to get back to being a functioning human in society and getting as much support as I could so that Lauren and I could live meaningful, joyful lives in our future. And it was our job. It was our job to invest in that stuff. And people were my anecdote. I'm blessed with a lot of friends, and they really supported me. And new people showed up, angels that seemed to just show up. I have some new friends that helped in the search or just helped me, and I think they were meant to be there too. I think people being open to getting the support when something unique happens to you. Just because you haven't had the experience before doesn't mean if people say it will help you. I was open to the possibilities, and I open to explore it.
Moira: And I do know you mentioned that before this, you were always like the super wife, the super mom, the successful career women and engaged community member. But you also said that you spent a lot of time in your head reacting instead of in your heart.
Moira: This has changed you. That now you live each day in the present moment with a lot of gratitude. Is that correct?
Kim: I really work at that. That's where I want to be. Right. I used to be so much more in my head and I was corporate Kim and I was so busy. When you're so busy, sometimes you don't take time to feel in your heart and just to see where you are. And I think I've shifted a lot since I lost everything. Right? And I used to love I had this great sideboard I loved with a marble top or curio cabinet. Those are just things now. And I really just like people and experiences that matter. A couch is just a couch. Dining room table is just a dining it's just a thing to eat dinner on. Sure, I want it to look decent, but I'm much more clear. It's about people and relationships and to be more vulnerable and open with my heart. Like in the book. The book is a great example. Right. I don't think I would have been even close to being able to write something as vulnerable and just open. I mean, some people told me, like, when they read the book, it's kind of reading someone's diary, right? It's really vulnerable. It's just saying, here's where I am, here's what's going on. Here's my humanness. And I don't think I would have felt safe doing that before. I think I was more guarded and now I'm like, but why not? I'm not promised tomorrow and none of us are. I want to be in this world in a way that's authentic, in a loving way and have richness of friendships and such.
Moira: And it takes a lot of us I'm saying this from my own my own life. Sometimes it takes a crisis in our life to wake up to what life is really about and the gifts that we have each day.
Kim: Yeah, I mean, it peeled an onion, right? It peeled layers off. It peeled an onion. And I wanted to peel off those layers that society can do it to us. Busyness of our lives can do it to us. The demands of the daily life can do it. But how do you peel those off and then just prioritize being present, being human, being loving, being caring to other people, and receiving that from others. Right. I was the helper of others all the time, and I never really knew how to take help from others. And this experience. I had to I had nothing. I couldn't drive my daughter to school. I needed people to drive her to school. I needed clothes, I needed to find a rental to live in. And people I showed up and I learned how to receive and learned the gifts of that.
Moira: And there's that lesson in that because I think especially women and again, I'm not saying it because men woman, but I'm women, mothers, caretakers. I know when my son was very young, I had to go into Toronto. I had a breast lump, so they were checking that out. But when I came home, I was my house was spotless cleaning and everything. But they said, no, don't do that for a week. At least leave that. And it was a learning for me to let that go and say, okay, other people can do this. And it might have been a small thing to somebody else, but it was a big thing to me. Where now? We live in Nova Scotia. Our home is sort of like a high-end beach home. The floor is all whatever wood, and we're in bare feet. We don't really care if it's like, a little dusty or before I'd be like, oh, my God, there's dust in the corner.
Kim: Go get. Yeah.
Moira: We're not so much when you have health scares in your life, for sure. I think those are wake up calls. And for you and Lauren again, do you feel like you were miraculously saved for a really bigger purpose? Does Lauren ask that, too?
Kim: I said that to her. When you look at her rescue, I mean, it is unbelievable. It is unbelievable that she survived, and they caught her walking out of her entombment. Right? It's unbelievable. And I said, Lauren, I think you were saved for a reason. And I think I was saved for a reason. There's no reason that either one of us should be alive right now. And I said, So what we need to find out is what that is and what can we do to leave this place better than we found it, right. What I've kind of learned, and I learned through the book and through all the experiences that I had with people helping me and the stunning occurrences that happened, is I think my sense is we're all humans who were born and we're born with a shell that we use, a rent a shell program. My shell is five foot tall, and I've got brown hair on my shell right now, but it's a shell. It's a shell to my soul. And what we're supposed to do is evolve as humans evolve in our soul and evolve toward more lovingness, whatever that is and wherever you started, but evolve and evolve. So that's what I want to do in this. And I think, boy, this tragedy has certainly helped me evolve. I'm much clearer on wanting to leave this place better than I found it.
Moira: Got it. And that isn't that a beautiful thing? So, I'm looking at two things here. So, I'm pretty a direct person. What you see is what you get.
Moira: You had so many synchronicities and things that happen during this that were just mind blowing. And I can see with the timing, we won't be able to get that today. Now, we can either come back and do a part two with that and finish off with you reading today or complete this today and see when we do another one at another time. What would you like to do, Kim?
Kim: Because there were so many things with the synchronicities right, that that might be good for another. It's jaw dropping, so I think having time to discuss that might be beneficial at another time.
Moira: Yeah, I think so. But I would still like you to read that page 268, because I want them to hear, and that won't take away from anything. I want them to hear your voice and you reading them. Sure.
Kim: Okay. So why don't I do that? Yeah. And it's page 268 of Where Yellow Flowers Bloom. So how have I evolved? Well, for sure, I have more patience that was forced on me. I had to wait 1218 days for some of Jack's remains to be found. I learned patience and felt a piece knowing it would happen one day. Odly. During those long three years of searching, somehow, I learned to have less attachment to the outcome. Sadly, not all of Jack was found yet. I had a newfound piece. What we did find could be enough for me. Less attachment to a specific outcome or thing created more peace in common. Me. I certainly recognize that in my new home, the furnishings are simply functional for me. I'm much less invested in them. They work, they look fine. I'm not too attached to them. Appreciating people and experiences and being present and aware in life are my focus. Hour are my focus.
Moira: Now, I love that simplicity and presence, which we all know the gift is in the present moment. People might think it's a silly saying, but it's very true. Kim, I know that you're going to be giving the listeners a gift for the first ten people who listen to both of your interviews, which I would like, so they get the whole story. I really want them to hear these synchronicities, because for some people, like your MacGyver Dog and the Joe, there was too many things that happened. And for some people, they may think this is too far out, and I want people to hear, no, it's not. I'm an intuitive and a medium, so I have seen spirit and angels all my life. So, this show, the people who listen here, they'll get it. But again, I want them to hear your story. So they'll be getting after the next episode, we're going to put that in the first ten who subscribe rate and share. Your episode and to just get the message out about healing, trauma and just going through tragedies in life and grief and the power of love really there. That will be below in both show notes for people to know that and for part one today, Kim, I want to thank you for sharing from your heart and your soul your powerful wisdom on a true story of hope through unimaginable loss with so much gratitude and love, and I look forward to having you back. Namaste.
Kim: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
Moira: You are welcome.
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