Daxa Patel - My Dad and Me

Daxa Patel – My Dad and Me


“When I see the sunshine I see my father smile”  DMP.

Time has moved on but in many ways I feel time has stood still as I mark 8 years to the day my father left his body and my physical world. How am I supposed to feel I wonder, whole again or still trying to portray an image of a grieving daughter? I am in neither state yet I feel numb.  My father was an incredible man.  Soulful to the core.  I still miss his presence but I miss our conversations even more. So much has happened in the world in the past 8 years it feels as though my voice was silenced when he went.  So many things he and I would have said to each other, discussions, disagreements and laughter on things that only he and I understood, often without words remain unsaid.   Ours was a beautiful relationship.  

During the past two days I have been clearing some old paperwork and I found some letters written by my father to various people.  His careful choice of words, his command of our mother tongue and the use of English I find quite impressive as he left school at the age of 14 to work because his father had died leaving a house to live in but there was no other income. My father knew he was his mother’s only support and so he took on the responsibility of working in a printing press just age 14.  He would relay the story of how he would run barefoot on almost burning tarmac to go to work then come home with essential groceries so his mother could cook for them and his younger sister.  They were poor but too proud and never took anything from their wealthy family members as my Grandma’s family were very well off.  My Grandma and my father both had this fiercely independent streak which I have got from them. 

Amongst the paperwork were my letters to my dad on his birthday and I am glad I did tell him how much I appreciated his sacrifice for all that I have and for making me the person I am today.  He knew how I felt about him.

Why am I mentioning this on his anniversary because I am still trying to get a measure of this great man I know as my father.  Amongst his paperwork I found two diaries with meticulous notes.  His handwriting would not show that he was not a university graduate.  He practised quietly and was self taught. He used to tell me how after work he would go to his Uncle’s friend’s shop to borrow and read their Times of India in English.  When he came to England the only job he ever held here in his otherwise self- employed career, was as a foreman in a textile company in Dewsbury. His English was so good that he was promoted to foreman and he was the go between managers and many non -English speaking workers. My dad told me that his hands were too delicate  and soft for hard labour and he was too hot headed to work for anyone so in no time at all he rented his house and bought himself a shop.  I have known my father to own a string of shops, a supermarket, properties and a paints manufacturing business. He remained a businessman until the ripe age of 76 when he had a massive heart attack and was forced to retire. 

Families can be complex and ours was no exception so for the last 32 years of his life we were firm buddies and operated in perfect partnership.  He respected me and never interfered in how I lived my life.  My father knew me better than I knew myself.  For a man of his generation to be so liberal minded is nothing short of a miracle but he was.  He was my soul mate and companion.  I am very lucky to have him as my dad.   He is the best gift God gave me.

I am going to mark this day with a slight difference compared to previous years. My silent partner in crime, my German Shepherd puppy will be with me.  In recent years each anniversary I have planted a shrub or tree to mark this day and on the 8th anniversary a Red Robin will be planted in our front garden,  I understand this gives all year round colour and stunning ivory flowers in the spring.  I am sure my father will like this and besides, this is my tiny bit back to mother earth.

To anyone out there who feels the jagged edge of a huge hole in their heart from the loss of someone they loved deeply, I hope in time you will like me, learn to touch that jagged edge and feel grateful for that hole which is overflowing with love.  This love is so powerful it can energise you to go further than you think possible. 

To my father, I say I pray to God to keep you  happy, safe and at peace.  I salute you my dear Paa and send you much love.

Peace be with you.


29th December 2021 

Red Robin 8 years..

Red Robin