Selected Charity

It is only natural and fitting that we denote the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod as our selected charity in case anyone wishes to donate in memory of our beloved Mother and Wife, Debbi. Writing the words “in memory of” is quite difficult but remembering the kindness that our Hospice nurses, social worker, and aides brought brings a smile to our faces as they taught us and allowed us to take care of Debbi in her final weeks and days.

Allowing these fine caring Hospice Angels to serve other families and ensure that their loved ones receive the warmth, respect, and devotion that they showered on Debbi will indeed bring us a measure of comfort as time marches on.

Thank you, in advance, for your generous support of this outstanding organization.

VNA Hospice of Cape Cod

434 Rt. 134, Suite G1
South Dennis, MA 02660
Phone: 800-978-0838
Fax: 508-394-8329

Request for submissions

Up until this point, Debbi, Rea, or I have written the blog entries.

If any of our readers wishes to write a blog entry about Debbi, their personal relationship with Debbi, their memories of our special Mother and Wife, additional thoughts or messages, please email me…

We are considering adding some additional pages and your suggestions are welcome.

Grieving by Lois I. Greenberg

Today I speak of death.

If loss were all,

There would be no need to grieve:

We would merely end,

But the journey continues.

So put your arms around me

And allow the tears

To wash away my sorrow;

Hold my hand

And allow the silence;

I may speak in whispers

Or not at all,

But my message will be clear

In the absence of sound;

My words, when they come,

Will tell the pain

In my own special way;

You need not feel it

I need to say it,

Do not comfort me with hushing

Or stay the noise I would make;

If grief be a part of this time,

Let me feel it

For it is a part of me;

Let me say Death;

Let me talk of Lordliness;

Let me feel my Missing –

I need to know its meaning;

The pain must be felt

In its own significance;

I come from yesterday

And when any part of that dies,

A part of me ends

And I feel diminished;

Let me say goodbye

So I can let go

And learn to hold on

In a new way;

When I have said farewell

To what was,

I will be able to define

What is

And then can contemplate

What can be;

For as I mourn,

There grows in me

A new recognition

Of my connections;

And when I look up last,

Tomorrow will be waiting

And I will go on…

Rabbi Yekusiel Alperowitz’s Eulogy

Dear Jan, Rea, Josh, Aaron, and Shira, extended family and friends who are here to pay their final respects to Mrs. Debbi Buckler, Devorah Michal bas R’ Reuven Shimon.

When I mention Debbi’s name Devorah, I can not but recall Devorah Haneviah the great prophetess of Israel… that great woman who led and guided the Jewish people through a period of battle and conflict.

From the very first moment I met Debbi, the first impression she left with me, was of a courageous woman.  A woman, who knew she had a very important role to play.  Throughout the years I’ve known her, I would observe time and again how she would fulfill that role in a very dignified, yet in a very proud way.

As Devorah Haneviah, she fought her personal battles and struggles with fortitude, vigor, zest and faith, including her final battle, the battle that took her life at her relatively young age.

When I spoke to Debbi recently, she told me about her personal transformation.  I don’t know if you know Reb Kuti, she said, “Since we’ve met last, I’ve become a very spiritual person.  Shabbos is now a part of my life.”  How much courage she had!  How much strength!

But as Devorah Haneviah, her strength is not her ultimate praise.  Devorah Haneviah was a counselor, a guide, and an inspiration to so many during a time of crisis and confrontation, yet when she sings her own praise in Shirat Devorah- the Song of Devorah- the greatest praise, the greatest accolade she attributes to herself was Shakamti Aim B’Yisrael- “I arose as a mother in Israel.”

Debbi, as a skilled artist, would volunteer during the summer months at Camp Gan Israel on Cape Cod to teach art to the little children. But her greatest piece of Art- and the piece she was most proud of was the home she established together with her husband and the children she raised.  And this magnificent piece of art- is something that will continue to be credited to her and can never be taken away from her.

Although in days and years ahead, Debbi’s life may seem short, qualitatively, her life was filled with purpose and meaning- especially in her role as wife and mother- but also in her commitment to G-d- as the sages tell us one who does Teshuvah and returns to the way of the Torah stands beyond the righteous.

The last two times I spoke to her, she mentioned her children, how much she loves them, and how much it means to her that they remain committed to the ideals that were so valuable to her and that she lived for.

The very last time I met her- she cried to me- please, please, take care of my children.

What can be greater than the cry of a mother- out of concern for her children?

The cry to want to see nachas- yiddishe nachas- to be able to carry out her special role and to see it fulfilled. 

I don’t think there can be anything more powerful than that.

Hashem in His mysterious way, has decided for now, to separate this devoted, caring, and loving wife and mother from her husband and family. But I am sure your mom, Debbi, will continue on in her unique way-

As the verse says in Devorah’s song:

Uri Uri Devorah, Uri Uri Dabri Shir.

Rise up Devorah, Rise up Debbi- Rise up, Rise up,

Ascend to the heavenly throne and sing your song. 

Continue to pour out your heart before Hashem.  

Plead to Hashem in a melody no one knows, but you.

Pray that your children follow that which you have taught them. 

Pray for the well being of your children and your dear husband. 

Sing to them the song of strength and courage amidst challenge. 

May your life forever shine as a beacon of light upon your children and family- to guide them, to lead them, and to inspire them, until we merit the era of Moshiach when tears of sorrow will be no more and we will all be reunited with our loved ones in this physical world,



Rabbi Yekusiel Alperowitz is the Rabbi of Chabad Lubavitch of Cape Cod. 745 West Main Street. Hyannis, MA 02601. 508-775-2324

Jan’s Eulogy

13,695 days ago I stood a few feet from here and watched as my Mother was lowered into the ground while Uncle Zvi’s father, Simcha Shpilner held me so tightly. Now I stand here preparing to lower my wife into her final resting place. Interesting thing is that since I met Debbi exactly 13,999 days ago, she had the opportunity and indeed did meet my Mother, Raizel Bas Yosef Ha Kohen who I am certain is waiting to welcome Debbi, Devorah Michal bas Reuven Shimon v Channah Libbah, with open arms and tell her how she could not have had a more perfect daughter-in-law.

I am sure she will be welcomed as well by her own mother Libby Capin and the Capin’s who came twice to see Debbi at the Cape House just were not able to make the trip again. My Father-in-Law Robert Capin is grieving for both a wife and a daughter and our condolences go out to him, David and Ellen as well.

Debbi and I go way back. Measuring from the day we met, we were together almost 70% of our entire lives. We raised each other. We were there for each other and this Winiker family was there for Debbi too. From the time that Debbi first came to Millis for Passover and Uncle Larry and Uncle Zvi got her drunk at the seder. To the many cousins clubs, Bar & Bas Mitzvahs, Weddings, Brisses and even funerals. Debbi was a true part of this family.

Obviously, she was a true part of my immediate family as well. She was the glue that held us all together. The magic that allowed each of us to be unique, know that we were loved uniquely, and inspired the rest of us to celebrate each other’s uniqueness. To pull that off, Debbi was brilliantly unique. Possessed of a deep capacity to love. Debbi touched and taught each of us.

Debbi was a happy person. Not just happy in the normal definition. Debbi looked at every person she met, found the good in them, and was genuinely happy for them for their good. Not impressed by expressions of wealth or physicality, Debbi peered inside people. She got to know them deeply and she let her true inner self be known by others. Especially she well knew this collection of family and friends gathered here to wish her physical body good bye.

When it came to her immediately family, she spared no effort. She lavished love in a way that I had never thought possible when it came to her children. It came naturally to her but to many others, her talents in this department were outright amazing.

After 7 years of infertility, the fire burning inside her was not extinguished even though she gave birth and raised our wonderful children. Each time we said Hallel, Debbi would be sure to say aloud, for all to hear “Mosheeve Akeres HaBayis, Aym HaBanim Semeycha”… Hashem transforms the barren woman into the happy mother of children. Halleluya.

Several instances arose to adopt children after one or more of our kids were born and Debbi always longed for the opportunity.

Maybe the reason that Debbi’s love was so special was that she spent many of her days with children, her own children and the children she lovingly taught. Children are usually true. They don’t mask their feelings. They let you in. Must be that Debbi saw the beauty in this notion and practiced it 100%. However, she practiced tough love. She set her standards high and made sure that those closest to her measured up.

I used to enjoy going into her classroom and playing with her young ones… but after November of the school year. After November meant that Debbi had already whipped her 3 and 4 year old students into shape and that as long as they knew how to toe the line and behave, Miss Debbi knew she could be absolutely wild with them, inciting the whole class to dance like a maniacs or having the class scream like banshees… she knew that she could have confidence that even with a subtle glance, her young charges would know how to behave appropriately based upon her next command.

In her own family the same held true. Tough Love. High Standards. We followed her example and learned from her. We just could not bear to disappoint her.

At the time of my Mother’s funeral, I remember that we first went to the Ael Chunon Synagogue for the chapel service before coming to this cemetery. During his speech that day, the Rabbi reached over the railing of the Bima and rapped very loudly on my Mother’s casket as he asked, “Who is going to be there to take care of Rae’s boys now that she has gone?” We all know the answer. Our wonderful Winiker family… individually and collectively this family has taken care of Curt, Scott, and I, with help of course from our special spouses, Renee and Nancy, and Debbi, even as we boys have take care of each other.

And so, I am confident that when I ask the question, “Who besides me will take care of my precous children at this time of their great grief and sorrow and for the years to come?… Who will help me take care of my precious gems Rea, Joshua, Aaron & Shira because I do not have the capacity that Debbi had? I know that the answer, just as it was in my case throughout these 38 years, the answer is that our entire extended family will provide love and care.

While the addition of my love for my children to the love of this special Winiker family, and the love of their own friends, the love of Shuie, Stephanie, Katherine, and Leo, and the love among the siblings themselves… all added together… still this will not equal the unique love of their amazing Mother… It will be good. It will be sufficient. It will be have to be enough… but all this will never be equal to the distinctive love of their Mother.

Debbi, even when you were facing a particularly nasty form of cancer you taught those around you. You carried yourself with dignity and confronted every challenge. You even traveled to Israel in February to share in Morty & Rose Landownes’ simcha. Schenker Jack figured out how to get you back and forth as comfortably as possible and you carefully planned your resting times so that you could fully partake in every aspect of the three-day affair.

While you were in Israel you astounded all at the wedding with your grace and composure. You traveled to the Kotel on your birthday to plead for your life. To ask Hashem to spare you so that you could continue your love and caring in this world. You poured out your heart standing there at the Western Wall, begging for Rachmones so that you could live to provide love and comfort and yet we are here today.

You did not hide anything about your battle with your rotten adversary. You wrote a blog entry everyday since March of 2008 and were brutally honest about all your challenges, your advances and you certainly wrote frankly about all your setbacks. You shared it all with your loyal readers.

Even in the midst of your own suffering, you were always reaching out to comfort others. Most of the nurses became personal friends. As proof, we have received email from many nurses whose lives YOU have inspired.

Certainly the VNA nurses, social workers, and aides in Cape Cod who loved you and took the best care of you and taught me and the kids how to provide comforting care for you, they all fell in love with you and with our family. Lyn, Mary, Sue, Margot, and certainly Debbie, they all felt so close to you. You just had that effect on people. And if you could talk now I know you would thank them profoundly.

Debbi, you were my best friend and for most of my life, my only friend. I was so fortunate to have you as my partner and surely I did not even know, and may not truly realize for many years, what a precious diamond I had in my life. My Basherte. My Aishes Chail. Every Shabbos I read Aishes Chail to you as I just did moments ago in Hebrew. In English it begins… A woman of valor, Who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value. Her husband’s heart trusts in her and he shall lack no fortune. She repays his good but never his harm all the days of her life.

This was written by Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon at the end of the book of Proverbs and is held to be describing Avraham Avinu praising his wife Sarah. It could have been written with you in mind. You were a genuine Aishes Chail. An Ezer Knegdo. You held me and genuinely loved me when I felt all alone. You bestowed upon me these beautiful children who YOU grew into stellar individuals who will spread your love to the next generation including your precious grandson Yonah and grand daughters Sima Ellie & Huvie. Even though you will not be here physically to see any more grandchildren or be able to watch them wade in the tide pools on our beach as you so looked forward to, I am confident that the next generation will be able to know you and benefit from you.

May you be a Meilitz Yeshara for all your descendants and guide them well from above.

My Aishes Chail, She opens her mouth with wisdom and a teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Her husband praises her… Many have amassed achievement, but you have surpassed them all. False is grace. Vain is beauty. A G-d fearing woman… She shall be praised. Give her due credit for her achievements and let her be praised in the Gates by her very own deeds.

This means that her own deeds, the special things she accomplished in her lifetime as embodied by her children and her family are the most eloquent testimony to her virtue.

Debbi, You certainly have earned the right to be Praised by your friends, family, children, and especially by me.

Thank you my special Aishes Chail.

Willie, I will love you forever.

Rea’s Eulogy

There have been many blessings in my life, but it was the first one I ever received that had the most profound impact: having Debbi Buckler, Devorah Michal Bas Chana Liba, as my mother. Loving, exuberant, joyful, fun, adventurous, and larger than life, she gave her whole heart and her whole self to those she held dear. It is this gift that made her such a beautiful mother, wife, teacher and friend. As her daughter, I never had to doubt for one second that I was loved deeply, and that I would always have a safe place to go when the world got too ferocious. 

There is no way to overstate my mother’s capacity to give love, to share herself with others and to infuse her enthusiasm for life into those around her. If she loved you, she let you know it. And often. She made everyone feel welcome, especially in her home. A good friend of mine in high school would come by when I wasn’t even there just to say hello to Mom and help himself to Cheerios before heading home. In fact, I was often jealous when my friends would come over and spend more time gabbing with Mom than they would with me. Later, I watched with awe when my stepdaughters met my mother for the first time, and within minutes, they were all reading books together and laughing on the floor.

My mother was the real deal. She pulled no punches; she told you exactly what she thought. She was unashamedly herself, no matter what the company. As a result, she had friends from all walks of life and they all thought the world of her. Her ability to reach others was truly remarkable. Be it with a hug, a listening ear or a pan of Rice Krispie Treats, my mother found what people needed most and went out of her way to provide it for them.

The last time I spoke to my mother I told her that if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be alive today. During my years of personal struggle, my mother offered me unconditional love and support and provided me with a foundation upon which I could build myself back up. During my darkest times, I would think of her and the power of her love would draw me back into life. It is not an understatement to say that my mother gave me life and then saved it, many times over. I have grown into the person I am today because of her.

 My mother was a woman who was so full of life, it is difficult for me to comprehend her life ending. Were she here, she would say that her legacy was her children, and she would be right. My mother gave everything she had to build a family that is truly extraordinary. We share an impenetrable bond of love, we support each other and accept each other unconditionally, and that is because of her. In this time of indescribable grief, we have each other to lean on. That is her parting gift to us.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said,  Mah zar’o bachayyim, af hu bachayyim, “So long as your children live, so long does the parent live”. Mom was great teacher because she knew that it isn’t about reading and writing. It’s about love. All people, especially children, want to know that they are loved. My mother gave us that gift and taught us how to give it to others. Now that I am a mother, I hope to take what I’ve learned from her and share it with my son. In this way, so long as I live, my mother will continue to live.

To be honest, the enormity of this loss has yet to set in. I can hardly imagine the reality of a world without her in it. I think of the children whose lives she could have touched, the grandchildren who will never know the joy of being loved by her. I think of the graduations, the weddings and the births at which she will be absent. My mother’s death is an enormous tragedy and a great loss. And yet, in the years she had, she gave enough to span many lifetimes. For that I can be grateful, because that is what she would have done.


Joshua’s Eulogy


Considering where we started nearly 26 years ago, when you asked to take home another child because I was so lanky and ugly, we developed quite a relationship.

One of the best things about you was that you didn’t just fill the Mom role for me. Beyond the maternal duties, you were a role model and an incredible friend. You were so selfless. You dedicated your life to making your kids happy. You took an interest in everything we said or felt, wanted to know everything about us, and wanted to do whatever was in your power to see a smile on our faces.

You were always so proud of us too. Anything we did was an incredible accomplishment to you. As I grew up I would hear ad nauseam about how I started reading the NY Times Sports section at age 3 and that when I began to speak that I just spoke sentences not individual words. You’d never let me live down that I would say “boom boom” after every song I’d sing as a kid.

You loved that fact that all of us were different and praised our differences as what make each of us individuals. You basically loved us for who we were. You always called me the independent one. You said that I had the confidence and ability to do whatever I wanted in life and reminded me every day that was possible. As much as my decisions were not always in line with your preferences, you always respected those decisions, made sure I had calculated any risks with questions of care and concern and then let me go.

I made several mistakes as a kid striving for my independence and wanted so badly to be able to do it on my own, but even when I would fail and your preferences were really the right ones all along, you’d still take me back in and give me the confidence to learn from my mistakes and try again. At some point, instead of the “I told you so” you would just remind me of how far I have come from my early years of being called your sunshine and wanting to grow to up marry you. Because of you, I know that I can accomplish anything, even to the point where I was able make a life for myself all the way across the country.

You went to war with the Cancer for over a year. During that time I remember thinking how positive and up beat you were nearly through the entire thing. You wanted to show me how strong you were and that nothing, not even a disease, could stop you. We’d be able to talk at 11pm or midnight because of the time difference and you even took pride in the fact that the steroids you were taking were keeping you awake, just because it gave you an additional moment to speak with your son. I decided to move home after your confidence began to waver because the most recent treatment was ineffective. It was in the beginning of April, and I told you that you always showed me how to fight for what I wanted and not to let anything stop you, and that you needed to persevere. You told me that you’d fight and make me proud, but knew that some things were out of your control.

Even when you were incredibly ill you still found ways to teach me life lessons. 

Mom I know that you were proud of all of us. But I want you to know that I am proud of you too. You fought harder than anyone could have possibly expected. I would not be here, I would not be half the person I am, I would not be able to show affection as you have shown me or try as I have if it weren’t for you.

You are always in my heart, and I know that you will continue to shine and show me the way to be the best person I can be.

You are my sunshine….

I love you.

Aaron’s Eulogy

When I was told that Mom had passed, the only thoughts that ran through my mind were my memories of her and decided to share five stories that I feel encompass the kind of person my mother was.

Memory #1: My mother suspended me from school

I had a mean streak as a child and my classmates knew how to push my buttons. One occasion found Mom, the principal, a classmate, and me in the office discussing what to do with me. Acting as the mediator, Mom asked the classmate how I should be punished; with a sneer, she said that I should be suspended. With a grin, my Mom said, “Fine.

Aaron will be suspended from school tomorrow and while you sit in class all day, we’re going to go out and have fun.”

Not only did my mother play by her own rules in deciding to suspend me, but she snidely told off a ten year-old while doing so.

Memory #2: All kids believed they were the favorite

When we were all still young, our pediatrician asked each of the four kids who Mom’s favorite child was. The result: 4 of the 4 thought they were the favorite. The doctor met with Mom in his office and said that she had to be doing something right. Somehow, she managed to treat everyone of us so individually that we believed we were singled out as being more favored than the others. Each of us was special to her and nurtured in the way that Mom saw fit because she saw us as four individuals with different personalities that all needed something different.

Memory #3: 39th Birthday

In a typical Mom decision, she and Dad held a birthday bash of epic proportions for their 39th birthdays. I had the chance to sit down and watch footage from the party and at the time, it could have matched any of the parties on My Super Sweet Sixteen. There was a long list of performers and everybody had a great time, especially Mom. She never stopped and was dancing all night with every one of the hundreds of friends and family members who came. If you factor in the planning and the post-party buzz, she must have been working purely on adrenaline for a full year. Day-in and day-out. She left it all out on the table and made sure to leave her mark.

Memory #4: Mitch

In 1996, Mom’s long-time friend, Mitch, died on her birthday. After telling us of his passing, I felt obliged to force myself to cry. Mom immediately called me out, though, and told us that while we are sad that he would no longer be with us, he would always live on in our hearts and we can feel relief that his pain had stopped. With momentum in hand, she continued her rant and told us that we take each day to remember him and smile as we recall the good memories of him. This lesson has stuck with me and after experiencing many losses that are inevitable with a large family, her words have conditioned me to remember her with a smile, even when I am overcome with the grief of her loss.

Memory #5: Mother-Son Dance

It’s been ten months since I married Stephanie; at the time, Mom was undergoing chemo treatment and still managed to have enough energy to not only dance in the hora, but also in the Mother-Son dance. Elton John’s “Your Song” was fitting as she had always sung it for us as children. Also fitting was the fact that she decided that she had to lead. With a smile on her face and tongue sticking out, she directed me around the dance floor. Mom, as always, was in control and made sure I knew it.

I find it fitting that this is the last big event I had the privilege of spending with her. It is this memory that I will hold closest and it will always remind me of what made her so special; she was exuberant, energetic, sassy, and most of all, loving. And while she won’t be there to lead me around anymore, she has provided me with everything I would need to anticipate where she would steer me; it is in this way that she will remain with me forever.


Shira’s Eulogy

If there were one perfect word to describe my mother and the actions she built her life around, that word would be love. Through her guidance and continual acceptance she formed the basic core values which I live by, and being lucky enough to have her heart, led me to the field of medicine. She was the strongest person I knew and she set the ultimate example for me on how to never stop trying. Words will never justify my feelings of sincere gratitude for giving me life, showing me unconditional love that I will never find elsewhere, and for helping me become the person I am today. Her love will continue to help people by reaching through my hands, hugging through my arms, and kissing through my lips. Every part of me is because of her and for that mom, I’m forever grateful to be your daughter and I will carry you with me always.