The Kinnie Club

Distance Makes the Heart Ache

It is hard to escape who I am. The weight of it is sometimes a little hard to bear. I look in the mirror and see many faces, not just mine. I am a link. A link in a chain. A chain that is etched in gold, intricate, strong and intertwining. The chain spans generations, spans time and spans space. My chain started in Malta. The first link. My chain grew in Gozo, the tiny island I call home. The chain stretched and now lies here in Melbourne.

My family is big. My family is loud. We live inside each other’s pockets. I have seventeen first cousins alone. Forty if I include my husband’s. More links in my chain. I speak to my cousins all the time. We see each other all the time. Something would be wrong if we didn’t. I don’t know what it is like to be alone. I have my chain.

I have no stories of disaster, war or havoc to tell. My story is of sacrifice. A common sacrifice. The choice to leave a place called home, to make a better life. A choice. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. But my life has only shown me that distance makes the heart ache. Ache for the ones we don’t see. The people we leave behind. The places we leave behind. The traditions we leave behind. From the extreme of living 24,000 km’s away or just in Sydney, the heart aches.

Family defines me. Not just because it is so big. But because it is so damn important. My life has many blessings. My family far outweighs most of them. My parents left so much, so that my sister and I could gain so much more. Only as a parent, I now know, what that means. I want my boys to grow up knowing how important their chain is. Where it comes from and who is part of it. From the cousins in Malta and Greece, to the great-grandparents who have long gone. I want them not just to know. I want them to feel that deep burning inside, that ache, when they think of that chain and how important it is to life.  Their life.  Sometimes it is a good thing when the heart aches. It keeps me alive.

  • MC’s family are from South Africa and I too want my children to grow to appreciate the chain that has led them here, to this good life x

  • Sophie Allen

    What a lovely big family, it’s so hard to be away, and I am only a Bass Strait away from mine, and that’s bad enough.

  • I have a small family, and I’m not very close to them. I wouldn’t even recognise some of my cousins if I saw them in the street. Not that I’m likely to as we live in different countries!

    I got homesick recently, but was delighted to be back home in my own family that I have created when it was time to go home.

  • Zanni,

    Absolutely beautiful post! X x

  • Lovely post Josefa. Family and knowing our origins is so important. I am so thankful that my Mum has made the effort to write down all the history of our family that her mother told her so that we can see where we have come from and share that in the future with our kids.

  • Trish

    A heartfelt post Josefa. I feel like my chain is stretched too since we moved 350-400kms away from family and friends.

  • bachelormum

    Beautiful post. I’m sure your boys will appreciate the rich fabric of love your family has woven despite the distance.

  • Lyndal

    This is just beautiful lovely- despite the distance, family is the most important thing xx

  • Sounds like my family – my grandad was one of 15, my nan one of 8 and while the subsequent generations are smaller the family is still massive. Beautiful post xx

  • Rita

    Such a beautiful post! I totally relate to your post. For me it’s from Lebanon to Canada (Montreal) to Australia (Melbourne)… I think it is so important to know where you come from. This is what defines you and makes you unique.

  • I can’t imagine having such a big extended family that you are close to – it much be exhausting as well as so rewarding keeping up with everybody! 🙂

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    I’m English/Welsh and living in Sydney with my Aussie hubby and daughters. I miss my family so much. I miss England! Even the rain! My girls are missing out on a childhood shared with cousins who are close in age. I think I’m fine – then I read posts like this and cry my eyes out! Beautifully written xx

    • you have no idea how much this comment means to me, thank you so much for sharing xxx

  • Grace

    I know what you mean. I’m from Indonesia and just last week I wrote a post about being homesick. We’re going to Bali soon and I can’t wait to introduce my boys to their heritage. Yes, our family, cultural background and heritage definitely defines us.

  • Family is so precious. My husband and I are both from big families and we’ve grown up experiencing the joy of big family events. I hope my children are so fortunate. We had so much fun as kids playing with all of our cousins. Friends can come and go but your family is a constant in your life.
    Love this post x

  • What a beautiful post Josefa. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be part of a big family. I remember having Italian friends growing up and going to family get togethers. They were loud, joyous and big!!! An eye opener from an only child’s perspective.
    It certainly must be hard to be so far away at times x

  • Gorgeous post. I am the first of 16 grandchildren and I love when we all (well, as many as can come) get together at Christmas. I love being a part of a larger family and the loud, fun, joyous time we have.

  • Danya Banya

    So lovely that you have such a strong connection to such a big family. And such fantastic travel destinations to visit too!

  • Well, leave it to you to decribe that feeling to a T! Well done, made me a bit emotional since I am just arriving from my visit from home, but its nice to know that Im not the only one that feels the ache…

  • Melissa Mitchell

    Beautiful. I miss that feeling – that huge family, being part of such a rich legacy. I’m estranged from most now – have been for the better part of a decade. While my life is better now (less toxic), it is quieter. Occasionally I grieve for the tapestry I was a part of.

  • I still miss my extended family back in Poland, even though I’ve lived here for more than thirty years. When I draw up my family tree, there are so many people on it I no longer know. People I grew up with, who now have children of their own and whom I’ll never know. Well, I might meet them one day, but that’s not the same.

    You’re right, it’s an ache that never goes away.

  • You left me with tears in my eyes. Miss you all so much. X

  • Cathy

    When it isn’t possible to visit those so far away, the heart aches even more. I understand xx

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Beautiful words.

  • I am the polar opposite, small family, no ties. I envy your big, loud family and how you must miss them so. x

  • AllisonTaitWriter

    I love the sound of your family and your chain! Thanks for Rewinding.

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