° empty

Mallett shared peace with all of her survivors

Beth Mallett’s family name has been published in this newspaper far too many times.

Some locals believe that no matter how good the story, there are only two instances any person’s name should be found in The Natchez Democrat — in the birth announcements and in the obituaries. There may be some truth to their beliefs. After all, the newspaper does report about the crimes and misdeeds of some pretty unscrupulous characters in Natchez.

Even though we do write about corrupt politicians, murderers and the like, we regularly feature many of the good things happening in the Miss-Lou.

Sadly, we also report on awful tragedies and accidents that take the lives of the best and brightest in our community.

Beth knew this all too well.

Whether it was the plane crash in December 2006 that killed her husband, Barr Brown, along with two other community members or the tragic car wreck in December 2011 that killed her son Preston Parish, Beth endured enormous heartbreak, much of it played out on the pages of this newspaper.

I cannot begin to imagine, nor do I want to experience, the pain and darkness that she saw in the days and months that followed these horrible tragedies.

Through it all, with an undying faith in God, Mallet turned the darkness into a light that has been an inspiration for our entire community.

Beth died Wednesday night after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Her Facebook page on Thursday offered a glimpse of the many lives she inspired and affected these last few years.

“From all the posts, comments, words, thoughts and praises for this amazing, wonderful person all I can say is “AMEN” x infinity,” one friend wrote.

“Her faith and love for her friends and family was overwhelming. She showed us what true bravery is,” another wrote.

“This morning I have tried to wrap my brain around why YOU and why your suffering…I think it was for all of us…your family, your church family and friends and your community,” another friend posted.

I had only one real chance to sit down with Beth and her husband Keith to visit and listen to her inspiring story. Despite the weight of all that has happened in the last seven years, Beth’s bright eyes and beautiful smile shined through.

Hearing one heartrending event after another and then hearing about her undying confidence in the future, I came away from our conversation last December with an incredible sense of peace — a peace that only comes through faith and love.

It must be the same peace that has inspired many in the community to rally around both as she fought cancer and to lift her up in prayer. Last April when Beth was feeling at her lowest, dozens of her friends gathered to join hands and encircle her house with love and intercessory prayer.

When Beth’s obituary is finally published, it will be far too short.

The notice will give a synopsis of her life. It will mention her birth date and death date. It will list those who have preceded her in death, including Barr and Preston.

It will also list her survivors, including her husband Keith Mallett and her son Jack Daylon.

What it will not list, is all of the other survivors in this community who have been inspired. My guess is that our newspaper would not have enough space to list the names of everyone who has been touched by Beth’s peace.

Such a list would be a testament to a person who entered the darkness and emerged as a shining beacon.

Without such a list, all of the other published stories give an incomplete picture of Beth’s life. Her earthly life may be over, but she continues to live in all of the lives she touched.

That is the story of Beth Mallett that belongs in The Natchez Democrat.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchexdemocrat.com.