Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Farm life series #7: my family lives across the sea

Aimee Fenech
3 min readJan 12, 2022

My grandma on dad’s side died at the hospital a couple of days after she was administered her last rites. Grandma was a strong woman, stubborn too and just like everyone else she was scarred by life in more ways than one. She lived until she was 90 that’s more than average in Malta and even though she did die of a pulmonary issue it was not COVID-19 which took her life.

Grieving is an emotion to be experienced together but how is that possible when I am here and everyone else is across the sea?

I have lived enough years away from my home island to know the price for the life I lead here. For all the hundreds of blessings I have here my heart still pangs with pain at not being there when I am needed and when I feel the need to be.

It is a strange feeling not being there for my family for funerals, weddings, births and other bonding life events and experiences, I am not at hand when there is an emergency. It is a dear price to pay indeed.

In times of grief and joy and everything in between I try to weave those lines with video calls but they are no substitute to touch. To a shared silence. There are many here in the same situation. We hold each other like surrogate family members at our lowest points. The life of the migrant. A choice most of us made, a tradeoff.

I am not so often homesick but with this sad news and looking at my sister’s children growing up faster than I can video call I have been feeling a little sad now and then. When I see others interact with their parents I feel like mine are getting older and I miss them even if I know that when I see them they exasperate me. My mother loves being a grandma, her face lights up at mention of the kids and I miss having a natter with my sister even though we are polar opposites in many things.

Anton feels it too, I can see it in his face after he’s talked with his parents. I hear it in my friends voices when they tell me about their kids in the UK or talking about their family coming here for a visit.

In a way it gives us common ground that is a bonding experience being a foreigner living away from home. When the farmer asked me about my family I can feel myself light up at the opportunity to share and look forward to introducing him…

Aimee Fenech

#permaculture practitioner, teacher and designer, co-founder of #ecohackerfarm, writer, project manager and activist get in touch