Arriving home from a wonderful family getaway this week at Atlantic Beach, I flipped on my computer and found an urgent Facebook message from my nephew to call ASAP. Instinctively, I knew what the call was about. The police had visited him this afternoon to make the notification that his father and my brother, David James Font, was found dead in his trailer in Lorain, Ohio. My brother was 55. He died alone, his body undiscovered for several days.
For all of us, death is as individual as our births. At birth we are surrounded by those we love. At the moment of our death, some of us may be fortunate enough to be surrounded by our loved ones as well. However, in many cases, who we are with when we die is a matter of the choices we’ve made in this life. In my brother’s circumstance, it was his choices in life that led to being alone at his death.
My brother did live a hard life. He was born physically challenged. He is the younger half of a set of fraternal twins. His older by one minute brother Julio was born with severe mental retardation. Julio lives with us and through the consistent, loving guidance of my wife and daughter, he has become a productive member of society and at home.
David was a spina-bifida baby. Despite enduring a number of experimental operations as a small child, the doctors predicted he would never live past his teen years. The doctors were wrong. Regardless of the physical challenges my brother faced, he adapted and thrived. But something else went horribly wrong in his life.
In 1985, he worked for me at the computer store I owned in Bayonne, NJ. He lived right around the corner from the store. One day, he doesn’t show up for work. Neither did he call to let me know he’d be out sick. I decided to cut him some slack. After all, he is my brother. When he didn’t show up or call on the second day, I called Denise, David’s third and then current wife. She said, “What? Don’t you know? He came home from work the other day and announced he was leaving us. He packed his bags and left. We haven’t heard from him since.” None of us had ever heard from him again. David Jr., the son he abandoned, was 7 years old. My brother was 30.
Over the years, I tried to track him down and discovered he had settled in Ohio and became a locksmith. All attempts to contact him failed. He didn’t want anything to do with his family. Then as I was talking to my nephew, I learned my brother had sent Denise a letter about three or four years ago. My brother had suffered a ruptured bladder and was fighting a massive infection in his body. I suppose it gave him time to think about the choices he had made over the years and the people that were hurt by those choices. Whatever was going on in his mind, he wrote Denise and asked if he could come home. Both Denise and David Jr. rejected the overture. From what I understand, he never did recover from the infection and it ultimately took his life earlier this week. We’re not quite sure if he died before Monday or not. His neighbors hadn’t seen him for a few days, waited a few more days and then decided to call the police to investigate. The police ruled no foul play. Death by natural causes.
It’s really hard to mourn for my brother’s passing. For us, he passed in 1985 when he abandoned his family and the hope of ever seeing him again faded. We mourned his loss then. It’s hard to mourn his loss again. What does bother me though is that he may have very well gone on to a Christless eternity. As bad as his actions were in this life, he didn’t do anything Christ could not and would not forgive through His blood. The only sin that sends anyone to hell is unbelief. I don’t know if my brother believed or not. He did pray once with Pastor Zeron to receive Christ as his personal Savior. I was there and I witnessed it. If he was sincere in his belief that night, david’s in Heaven now awaiting the reconciliation with the loved ones he abandoned on earth.