A Tribute to My Brother

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My brother Ezra Joshua Davis went to his reward March 23. It was sudden and unexpected and the empty space is felt by all of us.

Ez loved people during a life of blessing punctuated with hardship. He was born in poverty that few in America can even understand, in Bombay, India. His single mom had the chance to remarry after losing a child to starvation, but the new husband didn’t want Ez. In a country of a billion people, most of whom aren’t Christians, Ez’s mom was. The hand of a loving Savior made a way. A missionary reached out to a church in America, asking if anyone would adopt a child.

Our parents, said yes they would adopt a second son, and Ez came to the US when he was 7 years old. Compared to the life he would’ve had in India, this was a dream. But it wasn’t without challenges.

Ezra was the only person I ever met who loved Basic Training in the Army. When I was young I tried to join 3 of the military branches with my father trying to dissuade me. When Ez told him he was going to join the Army after High School, Al said, “Sounds like a good idea.”

He excelled in training, finishing the top of his class and being assigned as a clerk to the headquarters unit of the Ranger Battalion in Hawaii.

Ezra cared about people and wanted to make them like him. Which was both a blessing and a curse. People pleasing can give you relationships, but not help you keep them. He manage to win the love of three women, but didn’t make those relationships last. They still remember him with varying levels of fondness. He cared for and did his best for his step kids.

The center of Ez’s universe was his daughter Emilie. From the moment she was born, Ez’s entire world revolved around her. He worked tirelessly to provide for her, to give her the best life possible, and to be the best father he could be.

As Emilie grew older, Ez’s pride in her only intensified. He marveled at the intelligent, compassionate, and strong young woman she was becoming. He often spoke of her accomplishments with a beaming smile and a sparkle in his eye, telling anyone who would listen about his amazing daughter.

Though Ez faced his own struggles and demons throughout his life, Emilie was always his guiding light. She gave him purpose, motivation, and a reason to keep pushing forward, even in his darkest moments. In many ways, Emilie saved Ez’s life. While he was taken from us too soon, I fear it would have been sooner if Emilie had not been here to give him a reason to carry on.

My relationship with my brother was as full of ups and downs as the rest of his life. When he first arrived in the US at the age of 7, I suddenly had a new sibling to contend with. I was all in favor of sharing everything with my brother, until I had to. Then we bickered constantly over just about anything we could think of. As we entered our teenage years, the dynamic shifted. In high school, we drifted apart, occupying different social circles and rarely interacting beyond the occasional grunt of acknowledgment in the hallways.

After high school, our relationship settled into a sort of affectionate indifference. We’d see each other at family gatherings during the holidays, exchanging polite small talk and catching up on the surface-level details of each other’s lives. But beyond that, we didn’t make much effort to stay in touch. It wasn’t that we disliked each other – we just didn’t have much in common at that point, and our lives were pulling us in different directions.

In the last 3 years since our dad died, we had a fairly close relationship. We dealt with our father’s estate as partners, with only mutual care and respect. Afterwards, we made it a point to call each other regularly to talk and visit despite the distance between us. We went on a spiritual journey together at a men’s boot camp, bonding us as spiritual brothers as well had physical ones. In the end, I have no regrets about things left unsaid or things I should’ve done. Undoubtedly, my last words to Ez were “I love you” because that’s how we ended every call.

So I shall end this tribute as well. “I’m going to miss you Ez. I hope you know the full extent of my love for you now in eternity. I love you, brother.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thomas Cogdell says:

    A beautiful tribute, Ron. May you and your family know the consolations of the Consoler as you grieve and struggle with this unexpected loss.

  2. Angie Breaux says:

    Ron, I am glad you and Ezra grew closer the last three years. May those memories bring you comfort as you miss him.

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