Olivia Noel Ray

Olivia Noel Ray

Today is a sad day.

At least to some of us. One year ago this day my daughter’s best friend was hit in a crosswalk by a car and died. Olivia was my daughter’s best friend and also a part of our family. The Ray family is special to us also. My wife Cynthia often says that Oct. 3rd really defined our family’s year last year.

John Ray and I actually met in a ministry context before Olivia and Bekah had met and before Jane and Cynthia became friends. I don’t remember why John and I met but I know for quite some time John use to join me in prayer for ministry to international students back when few people were interested in ministry to international students. When my daughter started going to nursery school she met this really cool girl there and they started to do things together. Then my wife and the mother of this cool girl started to do things together. I don’t remember who realized it but at some point the wives and kids discovered that the dad’s had been praying together for some time. At that point our lives became interconnected.

Olivia and Bekah are so alike. Both have a tomboy side. There is never a tree that they didn’t look at and try to climb. I remember Olivia once climbed the swing set at Wilson Park and walked along the top rail! WE have a great picture of the two of them in a tree together. One of my last interactions with Olivia happened about a week before Oct. 3rd. Olivia and Naomi and Bekah didn’t have school that day and were at our house all day. I was at work but when I came home they were outside creating something. Then a little later I was in the kitchen getting a glass of water when I heard a bicycle in our den. I looked in and there was Olivia with her bike getting ready to put the bike on the treadmill. In my wisdom I said “uh, let’s not do that.” I think those were my last words to Olivia. I often look at that treadmill and wonder what would have happened if she had succeeded in putting the bike on it and started the treadmill.

Olivia and Bekah both also have that “girlie” side to them. After climbing trees they’d come in and have a tea party together. We have another great picture of Olivia and Bekah and their other best friend Naomi sitting in Bekah’s room dressed up as princesses.

Olivia always played a game with me. When I would come home she’d walk around behind me or slip into the car behind me and I’d pretend to not know she was there. At some point I’d turn around and say “hey how did you get here.” I think she was old enough by the end to know that I was goofing off, but she still did it. I miss that.

We have a big indentation in the gravel in front of our driveway that when it rains it would fill up with water and become a pretty big pond. After the rain was over Bekah and Olivia would get into swimsuits and go out and play in that puddle. After Olivia died Bekah would sit at that puddle and talk to Olivia. I would usually cry when I saw that.

Bekah talks to Olivia a lot still. Whenever there is a birthday party Bekah and Naomi make sure that the picture of Olivia is at the table. Bekah has put candies on the ledge of the picture frame for Olivia. Recently a piece of candy that was on the refrigerator fell off the fridge onto the Olivia picture frame that is on a shelf by the fridge. Bekah told me that Olivia must have tried to get some candy.

After Olivia died Bekah would get up early every morning while I was having my morning devotions and she would sit on my lap. She didn’t talk, just sat there holding me. This went on for months after Oct. 3rd. I would also read the paper at this time and Bekah just sat there and held on to me. On the day that the paper had an article about the investigation into the accident Bekah took the paper from me and beat it up. She was pretending to goof off but I think it was therapeutic for her.

I started this remembrance saying “today is a sad day”. One person doesn’t agree with me. Cynthia told me that the other day Cynthia had said to Bekah how Oct. 3rd is a sad day and Bekah said “No it isn’t, it’s a happy day. Olivia has had one year with Jesus!”

Today my family and Naomi's family are going to go and sit at the Butterfly bench at Leverette school that the Ray family had made in memory of Olivia. We’ll go there at about 2 PM. Some, I’m sure, will cry. Many will be driven to silence. And at some point the girls will play on the playground. Like Olivia did.

It is a sad day because we miss Olivia here, but I have a feeling Bekah has a better perspective.

We love you Olivia. We miss you. Enjoy Jesus.

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