You Shui Zhi Wo Ci Shi Qing | Who Knows Now What I Feel?

The missing years. By Sandra K. Seales Cayman News Service | Posted on Sat, 09/18/2010 - 13:17 in Viewpoint N.B. 26|09|2010 - This true story has been removed from its original location by Cayman News Service. See explanation below and at source. Viewpoint removed Posted on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:18 in Viewpoint CNS
In response to the numerous queries concerning our decision to remove the viewpoint about Desmond Seales: The VP by Sandra Seales was factual. However, we had a personal plea from a member of Desmond's family -- no threats or legal issues, just a request -- to take it down now for the sake of his children here, which we agreed to. Sandra wanted acknowledgement of her existence, which she has had now. It's a very sad story and all his family, in the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and the US, have our sympathies.

My father, Desmond Seales, made the decision 49 years ago, when he departed Trinidad, to abandon his family by marriage as well as his blood relatives. Subsequently, he falsely claimed to have emigrated at age 18, when in fact he did not leave Trinidad until age 22. The four year discrepancy was to conceal the existence of his first marriage with three children as evidenced by the untruthfulness communicated in his obituary. For those who question the motive for publishing this statement, suffice it to say it is nothing but a request to correct erroneous data. Every child deserves to be acknowledged by his or her parents. I have lived the past 49 years with the stigma of not being acknowledged by our father, even though many know of our existence. Upon his death, we were not given the opportunity for closure. In reading the tributes and obituaries, insult was only added to the injurious years of pain and feelings of abandonment, with the printed “erasing” of the life he had in Trinidad. We impart our condolences to the family he did acknowledge. Their loss of a father is also ours.

Desmond Seales: The Missing Years

Desmond Seales was born on November 3, 1938. He was one of 11 children. Some of the family followed their father into the printing business. In his late teens Desmond worked at Yuille’s Printery, where he met his first wife. They were both 19 years old when they married. She became a housewife while Desmond continued to work. They soon had three children: Sandra Karen Seales, born January 10, 1958; Rhonda Hazel Seales, born November 23, 1959; and Sharon Rachel Seales, born April 30, 1961. The family of five resided in Port-of-Spain. Desmond, by all accounts, was a very involved father and supportive, loving husband.(Left: Desmond Seales 1958) Desmond eventually got a higher paying job at Camps’ Printery. In 1961, Sir Etienne Dupuche visited his good friend, Mr Camps. He met Desmond, was impressed with his work, and offered him a job in the Bahamas with his company. Because there was a new baby, it was decided by the young couple that Desmond should go on ahead and the rest of the family would join him in a few months. Desmond boarded a BOAC airplane at Piarco Airport on September 29, 1961, and went to Nassau, Bahamas. His wife and the three children went to stay temporarily with the Seales family. For the first three months after he left, Desmond corresponded with his wife; then she stopped hearing from him. It is to be noted that there were letters only (which are long gone). Several months later, she received a last letter (also long lost) stating her husband had died in Miami. Some members of the family didn’t accept this … didn’t believe it … yet had no means to prove otherwise. The wife and three children he left behind later relocated to the United States. (Left: Karen Seales with her parents 1958, this picture and one above from Karen Seales' baby book - page below)

It would take many, many years, but eventually Desmond was found. In the interim, there had been two reports of sightings of Desmond at Trinidad Carnivals in the 1970s. These turned out to be accurate. Desmond himself later confirmed that he had indeed taken those two trips back to Trinidad, and never bothered to let his family know. His mother, father, and all of his siblings (except for one sister, who had died long ago in childhood) were still alive at that time.

When Desmond was found in late 1978, he was angry about it. He demanded that no one in the Cayman Islands should know about his past, and that most of his surviving family from Trinidad should not be told that he was even still alive. He refused to explain his reasons for this or his actions. Desmond Seales died on July 3, 2010. He is survived by his fourth wife, Suzan, and their daughter, Danielle; his daughter Nathania by his second wife; two sons, Jordan and Matthew, by his third wife. He also leaves behind three children from his first marriage in Trinidad, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and several sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, who never knew he was still alive. Truthfulness in journalism: that will be the legacy of Desmond Seales, when this is printed.

Some more information about Trinidadian, Desmond Seales. Desmond Seales - 'an extraordinary human being.' The Jamaica Gleaner | Friday July 9, 2010.

Communications guru and journalist Desmond Seales' wife, Veronica Seales, says her husband has left her with a long-lasting legacy - the importance of compassion. Desmond Seales, Cayman Net News publisher and editor-in-chief, passed away on Saturday, days after being airlifted to Baptist Health hospital in Florida. Seales, 71, was experiencing flu-like symptoms before being taken to Miami on June 23, and under-going heart surgery. "He was an extraordinary human being," Mrs Seales said. Desmond Seales spent his working life putting the Cayman Islands on the map, creating a media presence for the archipelago, through publishing and the Internet. A member of the MBE Having worked in publishing, public relations, journalism and marketing, Mr Seales was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982 for his efforts in producing Nor'wester Magazine, which showed the Cayman Islands' modern infrastructural and social development. During the years of 1979 to 1981, Seales also published the Caribbean Life and Times for the people of the Caribbean. However, for many more years, the media specialist designed and produced the Cayman Islands Gazette, along with other publications such as Coffee Table, Cooking and other hard-cover books. Born in Trinidad, Seales migrated to the Cayman Islands in 1968, having also lived in the Bahamas and Miami, Florida. He was also the chairman of MCM Consultants, a media communications management firm, and recently acquired the Printing Centre with the vision of expanding operations to newspapers and other work. Nothing is impossible "He taught me that nothing is impossible," said his wife of 11 years. The funeral for Desmond Seales will take place at Agape Family Worship Centre in Grand Cayman tomorrow. He is survived by his wife and four children.

A Note From The Gull

Thank you, Sandra K. Seales, for your honesty in sharing this story about your father. I can only imagine what it must have been like to discover that you had been deliberately abandoned by your parent. Understand then that any equanimity that I display in my response is not hard-won but a consequence of my emotional distance from your situation. 

My first response upon reading your piece was to wish that your father, before his death, could have had the chance to answer all your questions with honesty. As his child, you certainly deserved that closure. I cannot assume that he hated you and you must not either, but there must have been something of a drastic and desperate escape in his taking the opportunity to sever ties with his entire family in Trinidad. 

I wonder what drove that impulse? Is it possible that he felt that he would have caused even more distress to you all by his presence? Is it possible that his emotional absence would have negated any benefit that we associate with a father's continuous physical presence? He was certainly running away from something, Sandra, and inside of himself, it is likely that he would still have been running even if he had remained in the marriage. 

 If he were my father and no longer alive to to help me make sense of his decisions, I would want to visit all his friends and subsequent families to ask them to allow me to fill in the blanks. I would want to get a more complete picture of the man, Desmond Seales, who helped to bring me into this life but who could not stick around to share it with me. 

Finally, there is something else to consider. I am wondering if you can acknowledge that the very facts of your existence and your obvious skill as a writer might have been the best and only gifts that your enigmatic father was ever capable of bequeathing to you. 

When I read what you wrote: "We impart our condolences to the family he did acknowledge. Their loss of a father is also ours." I applauded your generousity of spirit and thanked your mother also for persisting through what must have been difficult circumstances to go on without the man she loved, to raise you and your siblings to adulthood. Your expressing and sharing your story is a healthy process. Don't let it rest until you find all the answers that are available. 

You Shui Zhi Wo Ci Shi Qing [Who Knows Now What I Feel?] 
Uploaded by TeisukasNewPlace  
Dedicated to Desmond Seales and his child, Sandra 
Yu can hua chou chu feng cheng  
Jade fading, flowers in sorrow as I leave Phoenix City, 
Lian hua lou xia liu qing qing  
Below the Lotus Pagoda, willows are brightly green. 
Zun qian yi chang yang guan qu  
Sing a Yangguan tune in front of my wine goblet, 
Bie ge ren ren di wu cheng  
Bid farewell to everyone on my fifth trip. 
Xun hao meng meng nan cheng  
Searched for a nice dream but it didn't come to pass, 
You shui zhi wo ci shi qing  
Who knows now what I feel? 
Zhen qian lei gong gie qian yu  
Tears in front of the pillow chime with raindrops in front of the steps, 
Ge ge chuang er di dao ming  
Across the windowpane both drip till day-break.
Xun hao meng meng nan cheng  
Searched for a nice dream but it didn't come to pass,
You shui zhi wo ci shi qing Who knows now what I feel?
Zhen qian lei gong gie qian yu  
Tears in front of the pillow chime with raindrops in front of the steps,
Ge ge chuang er di dao ming  
Across the windowpane both drip till day-break

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!


Anonymous said...

My condolences to Sandra, her siblings and her mother. I think the fact that Desmond tried to hide his past showed that he was deeply ashamed of what he had done, and could not bear for his family, particularly his mother, to hear about how he had abandoned his wife and children, so he took the easy way out, and faked his death. I used to work for Desmond, and he was always very charming, except on Fridays, when he had to face the staff and admit that he couldn't afford to pay them. He became so stressed that he was like a madman. Rather than not caring about you, I think that it was because he cared that he was so deeply ashamed of his actions, and couldn't face you.
I hope you will all find healing soon. God bless.

Guanaguanare said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your comment and for filling in some details about Desmond Seales.

This story, thanks to Sandra's courage, will touch many people and hopefully will also encourage others like yourself to communicate with her and walk with her for a while as she makes the journey to find the father that she lost long before his death.

Christopher P Nokio said...

I am one of Desmond's nephews. My mother Joan told me he once visited her at our home when I was just a child. I and others in the family know about Sandra's story and I think as a child I met her and her sisters one time as well.

My condolences to you and yours on the passing of Desmond. I hope someday it will be better and I wish you all the best.


Guanaguanare said...

Thank you, Christopher. I hope that Sandra finds your comment and is comforted by your kindness.