BY TRACY KAUFFMAN WOOD
When vivacious and universally-beloved Sylvia is struck by a debilitating depression and an encroaching dementia, her daughter Tracy launches a desperate, unrelenting, unrealistically optimistic campaign to save her mother from oblivion, and to keep herself from acknowledging the inevitable. You may have run into them at the supermarket— that
determined woman pushing forward on her mother’s wheelchair while pulling her toddler in the shopping cart behind. They would not have noticed you. In this painfully honest memoir, Tracy explores her role as daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, wife, mother, and caregiver within the context of a large Jewish family spawned from Eastern European immigrants who settled in South Philadelphia in 1909. The story follows their journey from the rich intimacy and warmth of spirited family life– through Sylvia’s agonizing losses of independence, home, dignity and identity— to redemption and a remembered promise. It’s a graphic portrayal filled with poignant and humorous anecdotes that pushes through the challenges of multi-generational care giving, pulling back the curtain on one family’s dilemma.