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Montecito mudslide survivor Kim Cantin reflects on two year anniversary

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Wednesday marks the eve of the second anniversary of the Montecito mudflow disaster. For many, life has moved on -- even for the families who lost 23-loved ones, or the hundreds who lost homes and buildings.

That includes Kim Cantin, who lost her husband, Dave, and teen son, Jack, two years ago, tomorrow.

"They're not on a scout hike and they're not coming back," Cantin told reporter Beth Farnsworth.

Farnsworth and videographer Alex Zauner met up with Cantin in the Rose Garden across from Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Cantin and her daughter, Lauren, are both survivors of the January 9, 2018 tragedy. Cantin reflected on the loss of her husband and son and called the Montecito tragedy, that also took their family home, "surreal" and "a massive community event."

"They often say the second year is the tougher because the first year is the newness, shock of it. The second year, for me, is realizing it's permanent. And there's a huge sadness to that."

Cantin said she "thanks her lucky stars" that she lived in this community when disaster hit because of the outpouring of love and support. She holds onto precious keepsakes, including the special quilt she made for Dave that was pulled from the mud last year. And, Jack's Superman costume, found last summer near Montecito Creek. 

She and others will continue looking for her 17-year-old son, Jack, who perished in the mudflow, along with 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa.

Cantin said help and kindness from friends, neighbors and random strangers offering prayers has helped the healing.

"You get a lot of that, of just human kindness and I think that's what's been really helpful for my daughter and I to walk through this path."

Cantin said that she and other survivors want this two year anniversary to be about thanking and honoring the people and agencies who really helped. At one point, Lauren will take center stage during Thursday's Remembrance Ceremony and sing, You'll Never Walk Alone. And, in turn, help our community heal even more. 

Cantin called the song selection apropos.

"The words are beautiful, the title is beautiful because in this town you will never walk alone."

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.