100 Days in Croatia - Week 2 - Monsters and Fish

Published on:
June 27, 2023
Iva Sladic Keco

Hey everyone! It's time for a real talk update from Croatia. The initial excitement has faded, and although we are having lots of fun and everything is going well I’m facing a mix of challenging emotions and deep reflections I would like to share with you.

Dealing with aging parents hits hard when you live abroad. Seeing them once a year makes each reunion more impactful, and the past four years, especially due to the pandemic, have intensified these feelings.

Middle age brings the harsh reality of our parents' decline. As we gray, their bodies and minds weaken, and it's tough to witness and accept. Conversations with friends abroad echo the same fears—what lies ahead, how it will all end, and how to make up for lost time.

Last week, my mind was consumed with thoughts of my mom. Despite her debilitating chronic pain and ongoing semi-depression, she managed to join me for the summer. Simple tasks we take for granted are incredibly difficult for her, like short road trips or sitting down for a meal together.

Her pain is allegedly diagnosed as pudenal neuralgia, but the lack of confirmation and limited knowledge about it make it challenging to find professional help and support, especially in Croatia.

As empath and someone who has dealt with my fair share of sciatica, bulging discs, and neural injuries throughout my life, I can feel her pain. I've fought it for almost two decades and found a way out. I changed my mindset and habits, now living a pain-free, fully active life.

When I see pain, I see a monster to conquer. I'm willing to venture into the deepest dungeons of my mind to find and vanquish it. I'm relentless, and some might even say a tad too much. Over the past ten years, I've immersed myself in online support communities for pudenal neuralgia, delving into its intricacies, reading scientific papers, connecting with specialists across Europe, and organizing visits. I've translated books about it for my mom, sought out specialized exercise courses, and roped in professionals from various fields like psychology, homeopathy, osteopathy, and physiotherapy to create a holistic support system. I've offered my help, pushed, challenged her—essentially driving myself to exhaustion and the rest of the family up the wall.

Some efforts have yielded results, albeit temporarily. But most of them have fallen short. It's been incredibly hard to hear her say that her condition remains mostly unchanged and is rapidly worsening.

Yet, amidst the hardships, there's a glimmer of hope fueled by love. Mom fights every day, seeking joy and meaningful connections, despite the weight of her pain. I'm learning to separate her pain from my own. Acceptance and detachment are becoming my allies, as I discover the true meaning of compassion.

True compassion is when we acknowledge suffering without running away from it, without drowning beneath its weight, and without attempting to mask it. It is a serene state wherein we offer help, unburdened by judgment or expectation. This journey of learning compassion, acceptance, and detachment is far from easy. Removing expectations with loved ones, and restraining my self to slay other people monsters is hard work for me.

I work on listening without trying to fix the problem, and relating it back to my own life, with full presence and without judgment. I practice gratitude. I am thankful for our short slow walks, exchange of smiles, interesting conversations, hugs. I am working to make every day a bit nicer and I live in the moment. I move, I meditate, I write.

Yoga mat and good view are best friends for centering.

We all do the best we can…and in the moment, that’s the best we can do.

On a lighter note, our culinary adventures continue to be a highlight next to visits to a pool, forest walks and regular exercise. We explored the charming old town of Samobor, enjoyed a delicious lunch, and indulged in the famous cream cake, despite the scorching heat.

And let's not forget our epic fish feast, with my father-in-law's fresh catch, grilled to perfection and accompanied by garden-fresh sides and a glass of Keco's wine. Facebook story is here.

While we were fortunate to escape a recent hailstorm, our thoughts are with those affected in other parts of the country. Observing the storm's approach from afar, listening to the rumbling thunder and gusting winds, we were reminded of nature's awe-inspiring power and our own insignificance in the grand tapestry of existence.

Work projects and house renovations are progressing steadily. Last week, I managed to order new beds—a small step towards transforming our vision into reality.

Boy continues to get pampered, loves visiting medieval towns and and enjoys pool time.

Pool in the forest is great!
One of the oldest towns.
Tower standing since 13th century.
Famous Samobor Cream cake

Cherishing the fleeting moments that make it all worthwhile.

Until next week, with love from Croatia!

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