Mary is Gone but Not Forgotten
Mary Alma Eley born 01 May 1938 in West Carroll
Parish, Louisiana. Died 08 May 2004 in Shreveport,
Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
She was a quiet easy going person. Some would say the lost child, since she was one who went about making very little noise and not doing things to draw attention to herself. The smile on her face was one that touched my heart. I knew what Mary had been through and how she suffered. Mary suffered from pain for many years. This suffering was caused from trials of life and her health problems. As I watched her suffer, it seemed unbearable; but Mary was courageous and strong. She always rebounded from the hard times that life sent her way, and came out with that smile on her face, that only Mary could display. She went through each day this way for sixty-five years.
You see, Mary didn’t have the luxuries of life, nor the material objects that so many people use to bring them peace and joy. She had an inner peace and joy. She had the basic needs of life, and she was content. This inner peace and joy was what gave her the courage to face her own mortality at age sixty-five when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. That was the biggest trial of all, and that one she faced as she had all the others.
Mary Alma Eley was the fourth child born to Alma, and was born on a farm in rural Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Most likely there was a midwife there to assist in the birth. Johnny was the only child of the eight born in a hospital. Esters Eley was a farmer, and we lived in a rural area, and family and cousins would have been nearby to offer assistance when needed.
Mary was one of eight children, six girls and two boys, in the Esters Eley household. She married young, at the age of sixteen. On 24 Dec 1954, Mary Alma Eley and Larry Gene Klick married in West Carroll Parish. They were the parents of three sons. Larry’s father immigrated from Poland in early 1905 and the Klick family lived near our family in rural Concord Community. Soon after Mary and Larry married Larry was called up to serve his time in the Army. That meant basic training and living away from family.
Larry and Mary lived in White Sands, New Mexico for a few years. Larry was in the Army and was stationed there a while, and later was sent to Germany. I know that must have been a momentous time in her life. She left family, and rural West Carroll Parish to an enormous area to live on an Army base or near one. She had never been away from home; however, I know Mary took this new beginning in her life with the same resolve she had all others. With courage!
On 8 May 2004 Mary succumbed to the battle with lung cancer. She was strong to the end and encouraged those around her. The night Mary died, I visited her in the nursing home where she was living. Before I left to go home, Mary asked if I would get her some ice cream, and to make sure I got her friend some too. I ordered both of them ice cream and they were enjoying their treat when I left. That night the nurse called to tell me Mary had expired. The memory of Mary and her friend, an elderly black lady, enjoying their ice cream is the last memory I have of her. This is one that means a lot to me, because Mary had so much love to give to others and she never asked for anything in return.
She left a legacy for her children and others. You may be asking, what kind of legacy can a person who only had the basic needs of life leave? The greatest one of all is peace, joy, and courage. Her three sons saw this every day of their lives in their mother. This is what she taught them and they too will face life and the trials that are brought their way with the same peace, joy, and courage.