My Life Would Be Over, and It Would Look Like a Terrible Accident

Craig Stanland
4 min readSep 10

In recognition of National Suicide Awareness Month.


It was a windy day; the rain was gentle yet steady. The first chill of autumn sat heavy in the air.

I stood looking at the damage the storm had done.

Overall, it could have been worse; we actually made out OK.

Although, there was about a foot and a half of water where there wasn’t supposed to be any water.

The nursery was completely flooded, and I watched as trays of annuals and perennials floated along like pontoon boats out for a leisurely cruise.

The sump pump was doing its job, the excess water flowing steadily away from the plants and into the asphalt parking lot.

I stood and stared, my mind heavy with thought — the rain on my body adding to the mood.

Then I noticed something: the extension cord had fallen from safety. It was barely being held up by the delicate fibers of a cedar stake. The threads would give way if the wind picked up just a little bit.

The cord would fall.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except for the fact that the cord was old and worn. The exposed copper wiring was dancing above the conductive water below.

I looked at my feet. I was almost knee-high in water.

My sixteen-year-old brain thought I’ll be electrocuted if that cord falls. (I now know the fuse, hopefully, would have popped). But then I didn’t.

I thought it would kill me.

And I was OK with it. It would all end. It would be over, and it would look like a terrible accident.

People would be sad, but they wouldn’t know the truth.

That it was too much. Too much pressure. Too much shame. Too fucking damn much.

I could be rid of my skin, skin I fucking hated, and that I drank to escape as much I could.

I could die, and nobody would be the wiser.

I watched as the electrical cord swayed in the wind, teasing me with what I thought would be my imminent escape.

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.