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Kim Cantin honors Montecito community with passion project, “Where Yellow Flowers Bloom”

MONTECITO, Calif. - 'A true story of hope through unimaginable loss.'

It is a key message behind Kim Cantin's powerful memoir, "Where Yellow Flowers Bloom," newly available in local bookstores and through Amazon.

The 292 page book is dedicated to Cantin's late husband, Dave, their son, Jack, and daughter, Lauren.

As most people are aware, Dave and Jack perished in the 2018 Montectio mudflow.

Kim and Lauren survived, injured and traumatized.

"I think my story might help others going through tough times and so it became a passion project."

The book took Cantin two and a half years to write. It chronicles the tight-knit Cantin family, Kim and Lauren's deep trauma and loss and, a mother's quest to find her missing son.

"It's really about looking for the good, even in the darkest of times. Or, maybe, looking for the good where maybe there shouldn't be."

Cantin called the book "a testament to the wonderful lives Dave and Jack lived." And, a "portrait of a compassionate community."

"That was the biggest lesson for me in grief," said Cantin.

Her book reinforces the importance of selfless acts and helping others. And, at the same time, letting others in.

"I was flayed open. I had nothing," said Cantin. "And that's one of the silver linings I think in my journey, is to learn to accept the help and really realize how much I needed it and how healing that was."

The cover is a dedication, an illustrated snapshot of Jack, framed between yellow flowers, a Coastal Oak and the Pacific Ocean.

Cantin credited her daughter, Lauren, for the title.

"Those beautiful yellow flowers grace the pile that some of the remains were found on and there shouldn't have been any flowers or anything there because that soil had arsenic and things from people's garages and it was a toxic soup. It was horrible. And yet, beautiful yellow flowers emerged."

Cantin hopes others reeling from personal tragedy and loss find her book life-changing.

"I really hope it is. Look, for the poor little boy that washed away -- on the same day my son did, five years later on the exact same day -- he washed away in a river and he's still not found."

Cantin was referring to Kyle Doan who was ripped from his mother's arms during January's torrential rains and flooding near Paso Robles.

She plans to give Doan's mother a copy of her book as the search for the 5-year-old's remains continues.

"There's been some stunning examples of human compassion in this town," said Cantin. She added, "I think a life well-lived is giving more than you get."

"Where Yellow Flowers Bloom" is available at Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara, Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito and, through Amazon.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here


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