It’s 2022. If you are looking for inspiration about how to live your life with more intention this new year, consider spending a few hours with Mallory Smith, a young woman whose short life casts a long legacy of gratitude.
Mallory Smith grew up in Southern California, in a household like yours or mine, with parents just like you or me. Except that Mallory died of Cystic Fibrosis in 2015, at the age of 25. Watching the new documentary Salt in My Soul is akin to watching a family movie – you will know Mallory and her parents, her brother and friends, and her doctors. Diane and Mark Smith lived with the knowledge that they would lose their daughter from the time she was three years old. Their fortitude and love is as inspiring as Mallory’s singular bravery in the face of the disease that they all fought, but could not conquer.
Mallory was no ordinary girl and from an early age, chronicled her pain and struggle in a diary. Mallory said that she was more afraid to die before her parents than she was of death herself. Upon her death, her mother received the passwords to the diary and has faithfully brought Mallory’s story to life, first as a book (see below) and now as a documentary. The film will break your heart but it will also remind you to be grateful for every breath you take. Mallory urges us to live in the moment, and reminds us that the simple things are the most beautiful.
Mallory was a writer and environmental journalist with a passion for sustainability and social change. A 2014 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, Mallory studied Human Biology with a concentration in Environmental Anthropology. During her time at Stanford, Mallory produced radio documentaries for Green Grid Radio as well as short news features for NPR at its Santa Monica affiliate, KCRW, and a documentary film, Silver Bullet. She also played club volleyball for Stanford and was a three-sport athlete in high school, serving as captain of each team.
Mallory was my daughter’s age and I remember seeing her at volleyball tournaments; I have been lucky to know her brave mother a little bit. This family’s proximity to mine reminds me to cherish the life we have been given and appreciate those whom we love and who love us. Thanks to the filmmakers, Mallory’s family, and to Mallory herself for these life lessons.
There’s not much more to it than that. Watch this trailer and be sure to tune in for the film’s theatrical debut on Jan 21 and digital opening on Jan 25 You can see it at the Laemmle in Santa Monica or buy a copy on Apple TV/iTunes.
Here is a link to the film’s website, and you can also read Mallory’s book of the same title here. It’s terrific.