Loved unconditionally and fearlessly
Malik’s mother, Waltrina, described him as “a manifestation of the sunlight of the spirit.” His light brown eyes drew people in, his smile warmed hearts, and his hugs enveloped lovingly. He brought light, love, compassion, and empathy to anyone he met. Others felt seen and accepted for who they were after only one encounter with Malik.
Growing up, Malik enjoyed playing video games with friends and his fraternal twin brother, Mikal. Playing Guitar Hero, singing in the car and dancing with his family at home, movie nights, and cooking were customary activities. Malik also enjoyed drawing free-hand sketches. He exercised, and was excellent at electronics and building computers. He was on the swim team and competed in traveling soccer and track teams, medaling in his events. More importantly, he was a great listener, leader, and made you feel like you were the only person in the room.
The family enjoyed taking vacations to Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and going on Disney cruises. On night walks, with their dog, the family engaged in deep philosophical conversations, discussing their thoughts and feelings.
A loving son and self-admitted Momma’s boy, Malik, loved celebrating his mom’s birthday. From the time he was little, Malik and his brother made her breakfast in bed, complete with cards and ﬂowers. Just before he passed away, Malik and Mikal, called to sing happy birthday to their mom. That was the last time she heard his voice.
First introduced to marijuana, after the death of his beloved father, Malik was passionate about getting sober. He planned to live with his brother, who had attended college and graduated with a B.S. in physics, while Malik was ﬁghting for sobriety. The brothers checked on each other frequently throughout their time apart. “I was, and continue to be, the luckiest guy in the world to have had a brother like Malik,” Mikal stated. ‘When I spoke from the heart, he would remember it and take it into account in our relationship.”
In addition to studying for his National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) sports training certiﬁcation, Malik enjoyed cooking and spending time with family. He had aspirations to go to college and pursue medicine, speciﬁcally neurosurgery.
Mikal recalls the last time he was with Malik after a relapse in California. Sitting at a Denny’s, the two held each other’s hands across the table. They stated how they both looked up to each other, and both wished to possess qualities of the other. Expressing their pains and fears, they embraced and cried. Mikal said, “I am happy the last time I saw him alive was one where we let our masks down and appreciated one another.”
Mikal knows Malik had a disease he was powerless over. Waltrina has since pursued a career in collegiate recovery. Malik’s aunts Amanda and Felicia and grandmother, Christine, speak freely about substance use disorder (SUD) and challenge those who hold the belief that addiction is a choice. They miss all the fun times they had together and not being able to create more memories together.
Mikal misses his “other half,” his twin, who knew him best and vice versa. His mother misses everything about Malik. She stated, “He is loved beyond space and time. Our family looks forward to when we can embrace him, hear his infectious laugh, gaze into his beautiful eyes and feel the warmth of his soul again.”
Malik’s mother, Waltrina DeFrantz-Dufor, his fraternal twin brother, Mikal Trenton Dufor, his aunts, Felicia Spade and Amanda Howard, and grandmother, Christine Patterson, provided the information for this narrative.
November 7, 1996-June 28, 2017-Age 20
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois