maria’s story~


April 14th, 2013



I met Maria when we were co-workers. As we got to know each other better, she came to know that I was a songwriter and she asked about my music. I gave her a copy of a simple CD entitled, “Holy Ground.” Just guitar and voice singing songs written from the scriptures. She called me a few days later and told me how much she was enjoying the music and how comforting it was to her.

Maria was later diagnosed with breast cancer and began to undergo tests, treatments and finally, surgery. Through this process, she told me that the psalms and songs that she was listening to were having a deep effect on her soul, helping her through the darkest time and the biggest battle of her life.

I received a phone call one day from a family member of Maria’s. They told me that Maria was under hospice care at home and she was asking that I might come to her house and play some music for her. I gladly agreed.

My wife and I entered Maria’s suburban home a day later, finding a hospital bed set up in the living room with a makeshift curtain around it so that she could have some privacy. I said hello to her family. Her husband, her 2 sons, her 3 daughters, her mother…they were all there with her. The tension in the air was thick. When death comes knocking, people don’t know how to act or what to say to each other, much less to the one who is dying.

I made my way over to Maria and she gave me a small smile, as that’s all she had the energy to muster up. I leaned over to listen to her and as tears began to roll down her cheeks she whispered to me, “it’s in my bones and I’m going to die.” I reassured her and prayed with her as I picked up my guitar and pulled up a chair next to her bed. I quietly began to sing a psalm of comfort to her as her family sat nearby and listened. The tension that had been in the home just began to ease…almost as if everyone had taken a collective sigh of relief. A sense of rest began to fill the room as the sounds of the guitar and gentle singing began to flow. The look of peace on Maria’s face was precious as the music and peace began to flood over her entire being.

I came back the next day and found that Maria was no longer able to communicate. I again played for her and the music continued to bring peace and comfort to her aching and dying body. Again, her family sat by speechless as they experienced the comfort and mercy within the music.

The next day we came back, Maria was almost gone. There was an eerie silence in the house as the family waited for death to come calling. I walked in silently and sat at the edge of Maria’s bed and softly played. As the family began to gather weeping around her bed, I pondered the relationships that were standing there, her mother, her children, her husband, her siblings, and I began to sing a song of release and transition.

“Lord, we give to you this daughter, we give to you our mother, I release to you my wife, I give to You my sister…”

The song that spontaneously came to bring release to this hurting family didn’t last long, as by the time I was done singing it, Maria had passed on peacefully.

The family thanked me for the gift that had been given to them. They asked me to play some of the songs I had sung to Maria for her funeral service. At the end of the service I was able to give each of the family members their own copy of the CD that first brought Maria and I together. ~Bradford 

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