In 2018, a massive mudslide annihilated parts of Montecito, California. Among the victims were Kim Cantin, her husband and two children. In this moving memoir, Cantin recalls this horrific experience and her journey from the heart-breaking aftermath to hope.
The Thomas Fire raged through Southern California in 2017. Heavy rain ensued in Montecito, making conditions ripe for mudslides. On January 9, 2018 at 3:15 a.m., a torrent of water traveling 30 mph slammed into the Cantin home as the family prepared to evacuate. Boulders and mud poured through walls, moving the structure downhill. The author became submerged in dense, muddy water.
As Cantin took her first breath, she inhaled mud but was eventually able to breathe. “I wailed and screamed and cried out,” she recalls. ”…I even yelled at God.” After six hours, she was rescued and taken to the hospital with multiple injuries. Cantin’s daughter Lauren was also miraculously rescued — from under tons of mud. But her husband and 17-year-old son Jack perished.
While her husband’s body was found on a nearby beach, her son wasn’t initially recovered. Determined to find him, Cantin sought the help of excavators, intuitives, psychics, Search and Rescue dogs, forensic anthropologists, and thousands of volunteers, including celebrity Rob Lowe. More than three years later, parts of Jack’s skeleton were found near a clump of yellow flowers.
This telling of unimaginable loss is captivating and inspiring. Cantin relates her experiences in a clear and vulnerable style, never presenting herself as a victim; she participates in healing activities even as she continues searching for her son.
A few elements distract. Numerous family photos inserted throughout the text disrupt the narrative. Additionally, while one can understand Cantin’s passionate desire to find her son, a shorter discussion of the search would keep the story moving.
That said, survivors with similar stories, as well as anyone with curiosity about the event or about a woman with limitless strength will find this book enthralling.