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Thursday, June 09, 2016

Kodiak Daily Mirror Piece~ Mountain Views: Best reader helped with ‘marshmellows’

by Zoya Saltonstall
June 3rd

Less than two weeks ago, I lost my No. 1 Mountain Views reader: my mom.

My mom passed away after a sudden illness and I was right alongside during her final months and days.

Over the years, my mom always cheered me on from the sidelines about my writing. As the saying goes, “she had my back.” She would occasionally text or email telling me how she enjoyed different blog pieces or newspaper column pieces. Her one main criticism was when I misspelled the word “marshmallow”. On my family blog I went through a period when I routinely spelled it marshmellow. Mom emailed me letting me know I spelled it wrong and the spelling of marshmallow became a running joke between us.

The past two months as I spent time with my mom, I took a break from writing my Mountain Views column, but not from writing. Words were scribbled down in my journal book in the form of flash memoirs: moments in time, conversations, sensations. The considerate body language of doctors as they delivered very hard news, conversations during car rides with my mom on sunny days, beautiful art work on medical building walls which brought me peace and sadness at the same time. Support from hospice nurses which routinely wowed me. The kindness of strangers on airplanes who offered caring words or rubbed my back as I cried in deep grief.

Writing this first column after my moms’ passing is a hard column to write, knowing that she won’t be reading it. Not writing the column would be harder indeed, as my mom would want me to continue to write. Writing is a big part of who I am.

On Memorial Day weekend my family and I went to Afognak for four nights of camping. Sleeping on the mossy earth, listening to the sea otters break occasional shells on their chest, watching the tides come and go was just what I needed to rest and heal. The winds in the trees and the lapping of the ocean were a perfect salve for my sad heart.

During that camping trip, I enjoyed many s’mores with roasted marshmallows with my kiddos. There is such simple delight of enjoying the white gooey stickiness that appears from between those graham crackers as well as the smiles that accompany that moment. The joy those simple marshmallows bring. That’s right — marshmallows, with an “-allow.”

That correct spelling of marshmallow is for you, mom.

Kodiak resident Zoya Saltonstall is a mother of two and a physical therapist. She loves Labrador retrievers and chocolate.


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