Summer Reading: The Hand on the Mirror

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What is on your summer reading list?

Are you open to new topics? I recently finished the enlightening and heart warming story of Janis Heaphy Durham, who lost her husband Max Besler, to cancer when we was only 56. She began noticing unusual things like a handprint on the bathroom mirror and other unusual phenomena. She concluded that this was her loving husband sending her signs after he was gone.

I do not have any experience with messages from beyond from my loved ones who have passed away. I have never suffered the tragic loss of my husband and cannot begin to understand how devastating this would be.

Janis is an intelligent, well respected journalist who was the publisher of the Sacramento Bee for many years. She is also the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and had been raised to have certain beliefs of heaven and the afterlife. However these signs compelled her to embark on a mission to discover what they meant and to try to understand the underlying science behind them. I am not a scientist, but the explanations that were given by the experts seemed convincing to me and their credentials were very impressive.

Throughout the book, I could feel the love she had for her husband and family and I could relate to those feelings as a wife and mother. I began to appreciate love in a new way and how love can cross all barriers. It further solidified how love really is the key to everything. I recommend reading this book and deciding for yourself how you feel about this subject and your relationship with your loved ones who have died. The older I get the more I appreciate every single day and do not take one minute for granted.

Janis courageously wrote from her heart about a very difficult subject. She chose to ignore the skeptics and critics, to persevere until she was comfortable with the answers she found. I learned a great deal and I appreciate the amount of research and soul searching it must have taken.

Grand Central Publishing asked me to read the book and offer my opinion. I was able to send Janis Heapy Durham a few questions. She has answered them for me here:

1. Although so many people are skeptical about this subject, you still wrote about your experiences anyway. What gave you the courage to write your book?

JHD: Retiring as publisher of the Sacramento Bee in 2008 gave me the time to begin seriously researching afterlife issues, but it took several more years before I realized that it was time for me to write about my journey. Interviewing the scientists who put their careers and reputations on the line to investigate consciousness and hearing the many stories of people who experienced otherworldly events made me realize that sharing my story was important. Perhaps a bit of courage comes with age, when we are not quite so concerned about whether other people accept us. And the truth has always been important to me, stressed my parents as a key to integrity and ingrained in my career in the newspaper business.

2. What have you learned from writing The Hand on the Mirror?

JHD: I have received a huge education in the history and study of survival of consciousness after death, but even more important, I have learned that we are all connected in ways we don’t even fully understand yet and that love has a power that transcends all boundaries.

3. What do you hope your readers will take from reading your book?

JHD: I hope they will have a legitimate, informed foundation for discussing afterlife issues and will accept their own experiences and be able to share their stories with new freedom.

4Ultimately, what do you hope the book will do for people?

JHD: I hope that this book will ease the grief of those who have lost loved ones and open the door to greater discussion – in the media, in the scientific world, around the dinner table — of an important question for all of us: what happens when we did?


I read The Hand on the Mirror with an open mind and took copious notes. I applaud the author’s strength of character and how she continued her quest for answers despite the challenges. By sharing her journey and analysis, people with similar circumstances will not be as reluctant to talk about their own personal stories.

To learn more about the book go to the website 

You can buy* the book here:

Let me know what you think about this book!

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What is on your summer reading list?








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2 thoughts on “Summer Reading: The Hand on the Mirror”

  1. I go on a women’s retreat every summer up in the mountains. It is a time to meditate, commune with nature and other women, story telling, drumming and to open my heart. In years past I have read some wonderful books while on retreat: Proof of Heaven, My Stroke of Insight. I think The Hand on the Mirror will make a great choice for this summer’s retreat reading for me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • Heidi, I believe this book will be a perfect book to read on your retreat. I came away with a stronger appreciation for love.The book really makes you think.


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