Apparently, this is a term that is familiar to those that have served in the military. As an Army brat with continued ties to my extended military family and familiar legacy, I hadn’t heard this term, but adore it’s simplicity and application for caregivers. In short “embrace the suck” is meant to convey that things won’t be easy, but others have been there and now it’s time to deal with it.
I remember having this sense at varied times during my own caregiving journey.
- As I took over the finances and was feeling overwhelmed by the task, I recalled when Mom fought to maintain her checkbook and was indignant that we suggested she couldn’t manage.
- When I found my Dad’s key wallet in my own key drawer, I reflected on how difficult it was to get them to stop driving. The DMV had rescinded their licenses yet they still kept driving. I watched as my Mom tore up the letters notifying them. Neither of them remembered being notified and thought I made it all up.
- When I brought out a deck of cards to play with my Mom, a Bridge Life Master, and she had no interest in playing.
For all of those times when I feared for their safety and well-being, there was a moment when I recognized they no longer could or cared to try to fight for their independence. Those were the times when “embrace the suck” applied for me. My thoughts moved to new ways to engage with the individual in front of me that I often no longer recognized as Mom and Dad. Embraced.