Not just another child, not just another day. In memory of Jai Patel.

_74784167_jaiOn the 8th May 2014, my dear friend Paresh Patel, lost his beloved 4 year year old son, Jai, in a fire in Liverpool. The fire ripped through a 2 bedroom flat killing Jai and his mother.

Blogs. Articles. Reports. We can do so many clever things with words and sentences, theories and ideas, satire and caricature. Yet in the face of this tragedy, it all fails to achieve anything of consequence.

Paresh, ‘Paz’ to his friends and myself for the last 25 years, was, is a devoted father, who fought tirelessly for his son’s happiness, welfare and protection. Jai’s Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents were devoted to him. With his family, Paz ensured that little Jai had the kind of environment where he would grow into the kind spirited, gentle, generous, happy child that is the result of being in the heart of a loving and caring family.

Jai’s life was cut short by a brutal, violent act of cowardice, that must have been committed for the sole purpose of destroying all that was good. In this aim, it was only partly successful. Each and every person whose life had been touched by Jai, was changed forever, because that part of you which is touched by the love of a child is forever secure, even against the most destructive elements life can throw at you.

Over time, questions will be asked, reviews will be conducted, and answers will come forth. As with so many child tragedies over the last few years, mistakes may well have been made. Vigilance may not have been prioritised. ‘Joined-up’ working may not have happened between agencies. And finally, a report may well be published which concludes that ‘mistakes’ like this should never happen again. And again. And again. The tragedies need to stop, and agencies need to stop the ‘learning’ process, start putting all these countless lessons into practice. How much learning do agencies need to do? Jai and his family have paid the dearest price for this ‘learning’.

Like all those who have lost a child, Paz, his family, his friends, and all who knew this lovely little boy, have lost something so very special. Words seem to be of no conseqence. I know this because when I went to see my friend, I could do nothing to make it better. Nor could I take any of his pain away. One simply stands by and waits for the grief to come and go, and return. All I could do was remember one thing. Jai, in his short life, absolutely knew that no matter where he was, or what was happening, had a family with his Dad that completely loved him for the wonderful being that he was and continues to be in memory.

There is little else to say, because sometimes words are so utterly pointless. But they are also sometimes all we have.

In memory of littel Jai Patel, rest in peace.

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