In fall of 2000, Kim Nadon was like most Okotoks teens, getting her learner's permit and beginning high school.
Then on a Monday that September, she was awakened by her mom to get ready for school, but something was wrong.
An epileptic incident meant she did not recognize her family, nor remember the life she had lived before.
Last month, Nadon self-published a book on her journey, Embracing my Cursed Life: From Hopelessness to Happiness, detailing her life and how she maintains positivity over whatever it throws at her.
“Whenever I feel out of place, or just mindfully or memory lost, it’s just, ‘Close your eyes, open them up and let’s restart going wherever we’re going, or have that fun,’” Nadon said.
Little details still peek through to Nadon at times, such as her childhood home in Suntree they moved out of while she was in the hospital.
“Ours was the one that’s white with the green lining,” she said. “That’s where some of the memories are helpful, things like that.”
Another key to keeping herself in a good head space is simply being with nature, spending time on the many walking paths in Okotoks.
“My hobby in general is just getting out in nature,” Nadon said. “See what I can find and just go explore, have the fun of the day.”
On her walking travels through Okotoks, the simple joy of interacting with other members of the community keeps her spirits high.
“The main thing that keeps me going is seeing others smile; that’s what is the true inspiration of life,” Nadon said. “When I go out it is seeing others smile that is my true inspiration when going out or in need of uplifting.”
Should life keep her stuck at home, Nadon will simply lose herself in colouring.
“I love the way it looks, and it distracts my brain from the negative,” she said. “If I am stuck at home, it’s straight to colouring, and if three hours went by, okay, well, I guess it took that long to have some fun.
“Colouring and nature, two things that keep me steady.”
Not one to sit idle, Nadon also enjoys cleaning around the house, putting her talents to work for others who may be in need of the help.
On her 30th birthday, Nadon’s mother presented her with a birthday gift: a portfolio of every detail of her life history until that moment, anchoring her in the world and giving her a jumping-off point should her memory be assailed again.
It was through seeking friendship and support in a group at the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre that Nadon, then Karran, met the man who would become her husband and partner in life, Randy Nadon.
“I see that as the ancestors were talking and put him there at the right time,” Nadon said, adding the groups have been a constant support through her life.
“With the wellness groups in Okotoks that’s truly what has kept me in a stable place.”
It was at another source of support in her life, the Okotoks United Church, that the two were married.