Christmas used to be the hardest time of year for Don Rowan.
It was the late 1990s, and he was making good money as a consultant in the oil and gas industry. But before the ink on the paycheque could even dry the money left his bank account, swallowed up by a horde of unpaid bills that seemed to grow more voracious each month. With his wife handling the finances, he was blindsided by the size of his by the size of his debt, which ballooned every holiday season as the couple strove to top the previous year. He imposed an allowance in an effort to stop their out-of-control Christmas spending, but with no success. “It just blew up,” he says, “and then we blew up.”
Marital strife only compounded Rowan’s financial stress. Credit card bills and mortgage payments weighed on his mind. He was deep in an economic hole, unhappy and hopeless. Only a sudden windfall, like a large payout from his life insurance, could wipe out his debt, he figured. And the only way he could see himself earning that payout was by taking his own life.
So that’s what he tried to do.