Just over six months ago, I was in church and the worship pastor asked us to pray for the Olsson family as he was wrapping up. I’d been a few minutes late and must have missed something. I asked my friend I was sitting next to what had happened – I knew the Olssons were in the process of adopting a second little girl from Ethiopia and thought it might be something to do with that. I was shocked to hear that their first Ethiopian adoptee, Marra Frehiwot, had been hit by a car at the park the day before and died. [News story here.] She was four days short of two and a half.
Today would have been Marra Frehiwot’s third birthday. Her mother, Amy, posted on their blog on Wednesday what they are doing in Marra’s honor:
[W]e are asking that you print off these “tickets” and then do a random act of kindness and give that person the ticket, to share her story. Yes, it will mean you may have to speak to a stranger (Freh did that ALL the time) It may mean going out of your way to help someone (She was always wanting to help and sing the “clean up” song) Maybe you could pay for a coffee or lunch of someone behind you in line and share the ticket and her story with them or ask the person at the window to pass it on with their “paid” receipt. (she always loved surprises!) How about attaching one to a gift for someone you really appreciate but often forget to tell…Anything, friends. Just something laced with love and compassion and “sparkle”.
(click here for the rest and for the printable ticket with Marra’s picture and a Facebook link to share)
I met Marra Freh once, after a meeting at church, and “sparkle” is a good word to describe her. “Overflowing with joy” are a few more good ones. She had a bright personality and a beautiful smile and didn’t mind sharing her bubbly toddler self with everyone in the room.
If this story touches you in any way – if you know the miracle of international adoption, or the pain of losing a child, or the joy of a toddler holding your hand and smiling up – please share Amy’s post on your blog or on Facebook or however you would like. Please print a ticket (or, three fit on a page very well) and pass on the kindness and joy that were hallmarks of Marra Frehiwot’s life. Regardless of whether you pass this on, in any form, if you are a believer, please pray for the Olsson family (Amy, Sten and five children, including their most recent adoptee). Grieving the loss of a child and beloved sister is hard on everyone in the family.
Thank you for whatever you are able to do.
Update 11/23/13: I am not as extroverted as Freh, so I left my gifts anonymously by taping four quarters to a ticket and placing them in the laundry room of my apartment building and the next building over last night. I wrote a note beside them to please enjoy the free laundry and to pass on the kindness in Marra’s honor if they could. Who knows how far the ripples may go.
Also, thank you to whoever cross-posted this on Facebook – this post has gotten more views than anything I’ve written so far, and three quarters of them came from there. My stats page doesn’t tell me exactly where on FB and I don’t have an account to check for myself, but I am thrilled that Marra Freh’s story has been seen by so many.
*Names and picture used by permission.