12 February 2012

A Day of Tragedy - the Passing of Whitney Houston and Jeffrey Zaslow

Yesterday was truly a tragic day in more than one way.

Whitney Houston, queen of pop, died at the age of 48, the cause is still unknown.

Jeffrey Zaslow, bestselling metro Detroit author, died at 53 in a terrible car accident due to bad weather conditions.

What is tragic about Houston's death is that it was probably self-inflicted. While the official cause of death hasn't been determined - we do know that she was involved in alcohol and drugs. Someone so talented, beautiful and successful was still not a happy person, and as a result - she destroyed herself. It's a sad, but unfortunately not a surprising ending to her life.

But I find the death of Jeffrey Zaslow much more of a tragedy. A family man with a wife and three daughters taken away at such a young age.

Zaslow was a best selling author, his writing focused on real human relationships - about friends, about living and about dying.
Outgoing and equally self-deprecating, Zaslow had a knack for ferreting out details that riveted readers. He wrote books that inspired millions, unleashing the insight of Randy Pausch, the computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University whose lecture about dying from pancreatic cancer and achieving childhood fantasies became "The Last Lecture" in 2008....

His latest book, "The Magic Room," chronicled the happenings at Becker's Bridal in Fowler, near Lansing, a store with nearly 2,500 dresses, owned and operated by fourth-generation bridal shop owner Shelley Becker Mueller.

He followed eight brides -- including one who had her first kiss the day she became engaged, and a widow who found love again -- from the bridal store to the altar. And he chronicled the ups and downs of the store owner, whose own marriage failed.
The tragedy of Jeffrey Zaslow's passing is that we have lost a teacher - someone special who could find the lessons to be learned from life and share them with us.
And when I hug my kids now, what a gift it is to be able to do that. And that's sort of the story I'm telling in this book [The Magic Room]," said Zaslow, "which is we've got to hug our kids and make the most of each moment, because you never know.
We grieve for and with the Zaslow family today.



Eden Zaslow said...

Rabbi, I would just like to tell you how good your letter to me made me feel. He was so special and always took the time to listen to everyone. I'm not sure if you remember this or not, but he ran into you somewhere last year and came home telling me how great of a class it was that I was in at monday night school. The fact that you took the time out to write that beautiful letter meant so much. Even my family from out of town had read it before I showed it to them, and they told me how nice that was of you. Thank you so much. It means a lot to my family and me. ♥


has left a new comment on the post "A Letter to Jeffrey Zaslow's Daughter Eden":

What if Jeffrey Zaslow had not driven to northern Michigan in the winter for a book signing for his latest book, THE MAGIC ROOM, in Petosky? Did he really have to go that far, overnight, just to sign books in a small town? SIGH and REST IN PEACE, JEFFREY: a good man gone too soon!

i have a differen take on all this here, your POV on my POV? email or comment my blog re


By dan bloom on February 12, 2012 9:57 PM
but why was a bestselling author on a cold February morning driving solo to and from a small bookstore in northern Michigan, when he did not have to do such a minor book event for his new book. He could have done an interview on Good Morning America or NPR and any other large media outlet, and he could have had a much different arc in life. It seems so sad and a pity that Jeff had to drive solo in icy conditions from Detroit to Petoskey and back just for a minor minor book signing event.

yes, That he bothered to go there says volumnes about his own dedication to his fans and readers, so on level, bravo to Jeff for agreeing to go there to sign a few books. But on the other hand, one has to ask his publishers and PR people: why on Earth was this small book event part of his national book tour? What were people thinking? And why did he go?