Separation’s Grief

I don’t have children, even less, I am not married and am some years far away from that, but I can understand, to a certain point, the pain that can come from a separation from your loved ones. I can only imagine the feeling one must experience after losing his or her children. Solomon Northup, through his autobiography, added details that enrich my imagining of a separation from family members.

Solomon Northup was a free black man living in New York. He was a hardworking man, but had a gift that was used against him, “the art of making music with a violin.” Because he could play the violin, he was deceived, kidnapped, and forcibly separated from his family to become a slave. The unjust separation grieved on him every day of his slavery and would have constant thoughts of his family.  However, he did not expose his grief to public, Eliza, a woman that also had her children inevitably taken away from her, did.

Unlike Solomon Northup, she could not keep the pain silent and practically grieved over the separation from her children in a way that became intolerable to a wife of a slave owner named William Ford. The wife of Mr. Ford finally decided that she had to send Eliza off to another owner.

I think that Solomon’s pain could have been similar to Eliza’s and she brought to light what he probably kept deep within himself. Although, I do believe that each case is different in accordance to the children’s whereabouts and this difference might have had a unique sadness in each parent. Solomon at least had some sort of certainty that his children were safe with their mother and if there was hope, he could maybe, just maybe, see them again.

While Eliza’s children were sold as slaves and she could, most probably, never see them again. She would not be with them if they were to be punished, mistreated, whipped, or even sick. Eliza’s children were left alone to the mercy of mere strangers, she didn’t know if they were cruel or kind, she didn’t k now nothing of were her children would end up in. The love of a mother is most of the times very strong for her children, therefore, I believe that Eliza had the complete reason to grief for her children in the way she did, especially when we take into account their surrounding circumstances.


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