The news story my search turned up had appeared in a Kalamazoo, Michigan, newspaper just a couple of days prior and it concerned an author who was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. The author, Dr. Mary Leiker, was a former superintendant of schools for a district in Michigan state and her book, Just Behind the Door, had recently been released. I subsequently purchased the book through Amazon and found it intriguing.
Mary Leiker's experience of grief, while similar to that of many others, is unique in its intensity. As superintendant of schools, Dr. Leiker was always "on duty" whenever there was a crisis situation involving students in her district. One Saturday she was alerted about a horrible automobile accident involving five seniors in the district's high school and she spun into action. She was present at the hospital, consoled family members and put into place services that would provide support and counseling for traumatized student friends. She explains in the book that the students "need hugs from their peers to give them strength" when facing such a crisis. "They look to the adults for answers. When there are no answers forthcoming to explain the terrible events and the probable outcomes, they feel vulnerable and frightened. In essence, they look to the adults to 'fix it.' Death, however, doesn't get fixed."
Two of the students had died in the accident and the others were seriously injured. It was a gut-wrenching day for Leiker and when she returned home late that evening she wanted to go to bed undisturbed. However, shortly after returning home she received a telephone call that would change her life forever ‒ her adult son in Colorado had been killed in a construction accident that very day.
In the book Mary shares her innermost feelings in detail and reveals how she coped with these multiple tragic losses. More than a personal story, the book also serves as a guide to dealing with grief because her detailed individual account can be instructional to anyone coping with a loss.
Her quest for answers eventually led Mary to a talented medium who put her in direct touch with deceased members of her family including her recently passed son. The evidential and comforting messages that came through provided immense relief while it confirmed her belief that the so-called dead live on and are able to communicate with those of us remaining on this side.
This medium lived a considerable distance from Mary's home and she longed for the ability to communicate directly. Her grandmother, though not an acknowledged medium, nonetheless had psychic abilities and Mary apparently had them as well. Over time, she relates, she has been able to receive messages herself from family members on the other side which has enriched her life tremendously.
Mary Leiker's book is a sensitive, personal account with a vital message to those attempting to handle the loss of loved ones. Its author is an intelligent, well-educated individual whose approach to this topic is informed and rational. The reader can easily profit from her experiences and perhaps even achieve what Mary herself did ‒ direct, personal contact with family and friends who still live "just behind the door."