This blog is a platform for people who, as children, were left behind by their mothers. It’s a space for them to share their stories about the physical and emotional separation, and their journeys into adulthood. It doesn’t matter if they were left behind in the Caribbean, the South, the Philippines, or rural China. However, the focus will be on Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and nearby islands.
Some young children were able to reunite with their moms as tweens and teens. Others became outsiders because of complicated circumstances, including their moms’ new boyfriends, husbands and children (half-siblings). There’s another category of children who were estranged, still in sporadic communication, though never quite able to develop the relationship they desired with their moms. I fall into the last group. When our mother moved to England from Jamaica, I was 5 years old and my sister was 3. I didn’t see her again until I was 28 years old.
My hope is that “barrel children” and other members of the Left-Behind Club will connect and share stories. How did your caregivers treat you? How did you learn to live with the painful separation? Let’s build a supportive community of light, love and forgiveness!
About the Author
Carol Kelly has extensive experience as an editor and staff writer at top news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Newsday and Gannett. She was part of the editing team that helped the Journal win a Pulitzer Prize for its 9/11 coverage. In 2014, her profile of a deaf high-school basketball player won a New York Association of Black Journalists award for best feature story.
Kelly has edited stories for several anthologies of personal essays written by and for teenagers. She contributed her own stories to Venturing in Italy: Travels in Puglia, Land between Two Seas, a book of travel essays. An avid traveler, Kelly has joined a group of international travel writers on trips to southern Italy and Greece. She considers Italy one of her places of the heart – along with Jamaica, where she was born.
A summa cum laude graduate of Hunter College, Kelly also attended Baruch College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at The Graduate Center. She is a firm believer in public education and calls herself a product of CUNY. Kelly joined the board of the New York Association of Black Journalists as Parliamentarian in January 2016.
She lives in Brooklyn, New York.