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Debra Zaslow was humming along on baby-boomer autopilot, immersed in her life as a professional storyteller, wife of a Rabbi, and mother of two teenagers when she felt compelled to bring her 103-year-old grandmother, Bubbe, who was dying alone in a nursing facility, home to live and die with her family. Zaslow had no idea if she would have the emotional stamina to midwife Bubbe to the other side.
Bringing Bubbe Home is the story of their time together in Bubbe’s last months, mingled with scenes from the past that reveal how her grandmother’s stories of abuse, tenacity, and survival have played out through the generations of women in the family. Debra watches her expectations of a perfect death dissolve in the midst of queen-size diapers, hormonal teenagers and volatile caregivers, while the two women sit soul-to-soul in the place between life and death. As she holds her grandmother’s gnarled hand and traces the lines of her face, Debra sees her own search for mothering reflected in her grandmother’s eyes. When Bubbe finally dies, something in Debra is born: the possibility to move into the future without the chains of the past.