Spontaneous Combustion

Me: Erik, I’m going to start out with an odd question. Tell me about spontaneous combustion. What’s up with that?

Jamie: When you said odd question, he leaned forward—he’s sitting in front of the camera this time so I had to turn my head—and he put his elbows on his knees and he took the hat he’s wearing and he kind of went whoosh. (She mimics Erik turning his hat to the side.) Like goofy hat. The bill (pause)—Sorry, we’re bantering and it’s very inappropriate. (to Erik) Spontaneous combustion, please get on track.


Jamie (to Erik): Where? (to me, arms out, pulling on her sleeve) He says, “There’s no magic up in here.” He doesn’t even have long sleeves on, but he’s pretending like he does.

Erik: Spontaneous combustion is real. What do you think about that? (He points his two index fingers to each other in front of his chest like some sort of gangster move.)

Me: All right. It’s a form of death, so what exactly happens that goes wrong?

Erik: Hey, what makes you think that it’s wrong?

Me: Well what makes it different from other forms of death as far as the separation of the soul from the body? Is that part of what it is? It’s just different?


Me: Plus, it’s wrong when you’re the one who’s being burnt to death, so…

Erik: Nah, nah, nah. If you leave that way, you totally signed up for that.

Jamie: The way he’s explaining it is when you drive in a car and you’re putting on the brakes—and there’s different ways to put on the brakes. You can ease on them. You can be that choppy braker. (She makes her hand, palm down, into a pretend brake and says, “Eh, eh, eh.”) Or if you’re going at a big speed, you just slam it, and you lock it down and you skid and they burn and smoke comes out and your car is just totally wondering what the hell you’re doing.

Erik: Spontaneous combustion is almost as if the body doesn’t recognize what the soul is doing and it’s shutting down all systems.

Jamie: He’s talking about it creating a friction and a heat. He’s comparing it to a chemical reaction.


Jamie (to Erik, irritated): Yes, I’m paraphrasing. Cut me some slack!


Jamie: Apparently the floor is yours, Elisa.

Me: Well, is it something about the way it disconnects from the cells?

Erik: Yeah, and that’s what creates the friction.

Me: How does the friction work there? It’s not like rubbing your hands together.

Erik: Mm mm. No. It’s more of, uh, the energy moves so quickly that it creates this side force of pressure and heat. Keeping it simple.

Jamie: Thank you.

Me: Oh, okay. Well thank you for dumbing it down for us.


Dear Reader,

The journey on which you’re about to embark will take you through stories that are deeply personal and involves a relationship between a mother and her son.

As a physician raised by two atheists, I had no personal belief system about life after death. In a word, I was a confirmed skeptic. As my journey progressed, my mind opened. It is my sincerest hope that yours will open as well and that you will have a greater understanding of your own life and what’s to come ahead.

Although Erik sometimes paints a rosy picture of the afterlife, time and time again he stresses that suicide is not the answer to one’s problems. If you struggle, please understand that the information in my blog and my book is no substitute for professional help. Please click here for a list of resources for help when you find yourself considering taking your own life. Know that they are readily available when you feel that hopelessness and despair that many of us feel from time to time in our lives.

I refuse all donations and ad revenue on the blog. It is my dream to one day establish a nonprofit organization that delivers a variety of spiritual services for those who have lost loved ones to suicide and cannot afford that assistance on their own. It’s a mission of love, sacrifice, and dedication.

Love and light,


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Elisa Medhus

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