Bringing Bubbe Home,
a Memoir of Letting Go Through Love and Death

bubbe_cover_finalDebra 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. She had no idea if she’d have the emotional stamina to midwife her 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. The compelling narration by a frank, witty woman in the midst of love and crisis offers a fascinating glimpse into a modern Jewish family while serving as a manual for nurturing an elder with courage, depth and humor.

 

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Praise for Bringing Bubbe Home

“This courageous, poignant, truthful book will give you an experience that will never leave you. You will become wiser in the reading, shocked and compassionate as love rises to the challenge of tending to life’s end.”
Jean Houston, Ph.D,  author of A Mythic Life: Learning to Live our Greater Story

“Debra is a gifted storyteller and this memoir is a richly-textured, powerful and poignant tale of love and death, and a family’s brokenness and healing.  Debra Zaslow holds a candle of light to anyone dealing with the reality of the human encounter with aging, sickness and death. This book reads beautifully, and will undoubtedly open your heart and bring tears to your eyes.”
Reb Simcha Raphael, Ph.D. Author,Jewish Views of the Afterlife

Bringing Bubbe Home is deeply compassionate, but unflinching. This book chronicles the realities of the body, the demands of our emotions, and the promise of the spirit. The beauty here is hard-won and authentic.”
Sue William Silverman, author, Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction

“Debra Zaslow brought her bubbe home to die. You need to bring Bringing Bubbe Home into your home in order to live. This is a deeply honest memoir of love of and death; nothing sugar-coated, nothing left out. If you or someone you love is dealing with a loved one in the final stage of life, or if you or someone you love realizes that we will all be in that stage someday, this book is a real treasure.”
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author ofEmbracing the Divine Feminine

“Heartfelt and often humorous, Bringing Bubbe Home offers a keen and compassionate account of the love, dread, exhaustion, devotion, and revelation that come when Zaslow opens her home and her heart to her dying grandmother. With the true talent of a storyteller, Debra Zaslow takes us on a journey of self-doubt, self-discovery, and, finally, reconciliation as she explores what it means to remember…and to be remembered.”
Kim Barnes, Author of In the Wildernessand In the Kingdom of Men

Bringing Bubbe Home is so personal that I immediately feel as if I’ve known Debra my whole life. She shares her story of the decision to bring her 103 year old grandmother home to care for her until her death with unwavering compassion and honesty. If you read only one book during Jewish Book Month please let it be this one.”
Rabbi Pamela Jay Gottfried, author ofFound in Translation

“This book becomes impossible to put down. Necessary truths and family secrets are revealed in the mature voice of a world-class storyteller. I immediately told friends to read this with the intent of a deep discussion.Bringing Home Bubbe is brilliantly confrontational, leading us to know ourselves and ask, ‘Could we?’ and ‘Should we?’ ”
Rabbi Goldie Milgram, Co-Editor,Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning

“Debra Zaslow shares her story with grace, poignancy and courageous truth. In Bringing Bubbe Home, we are reminded of the tradition of caring for our elders, which has been essentially lost in our time. When the Zaslows choose to bring their old, difficult and dying grandmother into their home, the teaching is about the resiliency of love. In her beautiful, lyrical way of weaving a story, Debra opens her home and heart to us. She paints a raw picture of the impact and immediacy of change when we confront death — whether our own or someone close to us. She renews our faith in love. ”
Rabbi Nadya Gross, Director, HASHPA’AH, ALEPH Ordination Program in Spiritual Direction Training