Ingrid Griffith

Published On


Page Range

pp. 109-118

Print Length

9 pages

7. When They Left

  • Ingrid Griffith (author)
At the age of seven, Ingrid Griffith’s parents left Guyana for the United States, leaving their children in the care of their grandmothers. Griffith’s experience is common for many Guyanese as well as Caribbean families where parents must make the difficult choice to migrate and leave their children with extended family members or caregivers. It is indeed a noble agenda, as Griffith writes about her parents’ goals to work hard in a foreign land so that they can acquire the funds, passports, and visas to have their children join them later in the United States—a process that took years. Told uniquely through Griffith’s perspective as a young girl, ‘When They Left’ offers a glimpse of how a child struggles to reconcile her parents' love with their simultaneous departure. In her moving memoir essay, Griffith explores the rupture migration enacts on families when children are split apart from their parents and how that separation reverberates years after the first moment of departure. It is the narrative we rarely see—what the act of leaving means for a child and how it becomes an open wound of abandonment.


Ingrid Griffith