Mary Mastroni sat up in bed night before and woke her husband Frank excitedly, asking, ” Do you hear it? … It is the most beautiful music!”
Dionne Perkins and I have been friends since the beginning of Freshmen year in college. On the first day we met we stayed up all night laughing and talking. And now, over 20 years later, we are separated by hundreds of miles, but we have managed to keep the conversation going with almost daily emails and phone calls. We have a bond that has been made even stronger these last few months in suffering.
It all began back in October when she called me, asking me to pray for Mary Mastroni. This is her Grandmother on her Mother’s side who was ailing. As we both grew to know God, this was common for us to pray as we have leaned on each other through trials and have seen His hand move . A few days later, I called to check on her and her family and she said, “Girl, my Grandmother had all 12 of her kids here.. They thought she was going to die, but she is home, up and cooking!” It was something I really needed to hear. My Mother, Hattie Peterson, had cancer at the time. She had been standing strong and fighting hard, but it was difficult for her and for all of us. We celebrated my sister’s November wedding, the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday, which was Mom’s favorite, but soon thereafter, she began to lose her appetite as her liver was failing.
It was the beginning of January in the middle of the night, when Mommy went home to be with the Lord. She was at home in front of her beloved fireplace with the family all round. We sang hymns , prayed and read to her all day. In her last hour, we put on a some praise music. Without our realization she quietly drifted home, as the chorus of this upbeat song played loudly. At the time it seemed very out-of-place in that solemn moment. As we began to understand what happened, I rushed over, to turn it off as it ended , and then began to cry and wail as deep pain gripped my belly.
The next few hours were as a bad dream, but we did not sleep, and as the morning light came in , I began to make necessary phone calls. As I called one of my Mom’s best friends, to tell her the news, I thought about how hard it must have been for her to hear. She knew my mother before I was even born. As I hung up the phone, I called Dionne. It was a short conversation and she cried with me a bit. The rest of the morning was a blur but I did log into my computer for a sense of normalcy. As l I went online , I saw that Dionne had put up a post . Her grandmother, who we prayed for a few months back passed away as well that night. I couldn’t believe it!
Dumbfounded, I dialed the phone correctly on the 3rd or 4th try. She said, “Eb., it is unbelievable! Yes Grandma died, but wait until you hear this!” I listened intently as she began to tell the story.
Eighty three-year old Mary Mastroni had sat up in bed night before and woke her beloved husband Frank excitedly, asking, ” Do you hear it? …
He said, no, and she said, ” You don’t? It is the most beautiful music!” .
As he tried calm her so she would lay back down, she said , ” No! …No! …I have to go! This is the second time they have come for me. I won’t let them leave without me again!…
He saw that her eyes were shining and her face was radiant. She looked as beautiful as the first day they met. He embraced her and kissed his wife of over 60 years, and held her hand as she went back to sleep that night , knowing that she would not be joining him in the morning, and sadly, he was right.
As Dionne tearfully recounted this beautiful story, I couldn’t believe that we had lost them both, in the same night! Even so, I was so comforted to know that her Grandma Mary went to heaven with Mommy. I was sure of it and I told her so. As I hung up the phone, my thoughts shifted to the music. Her Grandmother said it was beautiful. It was then that I remembered the song. When Mommy went home it was a loud , joyful and upbeat song, … what was it? I rushed to my computer and pulled up my streaming service. He LIVES.. Yes, that is what it was, the chorus was playing over and over. When I heard it again , I became overwhelmed as I processed the words:
“He lives He Lives
Conquered the graves and covered our sin
He lives He Lives
Death couldn’t hold the promise within
He is alive
Death where is your sting
Grave where is your victory
Jesus holds the keys
He reigns forever
Forever and Ever”
Album : Cover the Earth – Lakewood Church
Record Label: INTEGRITY/COLUMBIA
Originally released: 10-FEB-2004
I began to cry a good cry. Before that moment, I felt as if my whole world was collapsing, and I was brought low, to a place I did not deserve to go, in loss and hopelessness. But God pulled me back from the pit, with a song.
Yes, my Mommy was gone , and I will ache and miss her, but she did not, we did not lose!
I needed be reminded right then, that those in Christ who die, never lose! …
The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better”
This song speaks of the Victory that we have as believers over death and the grave. And even as my Mommy passed from this life to the next, the Gospel was preached. That even though she died , HE LIVES and because of this, SHE lives on with HIM. Glory to Our AWESOME God! Mommy was home, and so was Grandma Mary.
I am not sure what wonderful music Grandma Mastroni heard as she decided to go home to heaven, but rest assured that the testimony of this day is a consolation for our families who lost two great matriarchs. That even in death the Love of God prevails and comforts us from hopeless despair. Jesus Christ gives us a new hope to live eternally and to be united with Him and our loved ones again because He won the battle over death.
Praise our Wonderful Savior!