THE HARDEST PART
I’m back blogging again after not being allowed to talk about what was going on in my life while the police put together the case against the “alleged embezzler.”
It sounds strange to refer to someone I knew as “the alleged embezzler.”Those are cold words.
At first I thought the hardest part was the shock of discovering that someone I cared about had allegedly embezzled almost half a million dollars from me — a big hit for a small business. I kept spinng through the cycles of grief, over and over.
Then as a friend and I prepared the documents for the bank and I had to look at all the allegedly forged checks: Seventeen hundred, nineteen hundred, seven hundred – and that was only one afternoon’s worth of alleged forgery and fraud, the crying started again and this time it wouldn’t stop.
A friend said it best when I interviewed her for The Grief Club.She worked with people with AIDS . When she showed me pictures of friends who had passed, I asked if she ever got used to it — the loss.
“There’s a room in my heart,” she explained.“In that room is the pain from everyone I’ve lost. Now when someone dies, I don’t just feel the pain from losing that person. I go into that room and feel the pain from losing all the others, too.”
What she was saying was that as time passed it didn’t hurt less; it hurt more.
For almost five months, I lived in that room she talked about.I cried when I woke up, in the afternoon, and at night. I wasn’t sure what hurt most, the betrayal or losing the money. It depends on when you ask me. Both losses are huge. Both hurt.
After finishing the paperwork, I thought for sure the hardest part was over but instead I kept crying. Finally I decided to take my own advice, and did the 40-day Make Miracles activity again.I didn’t notice when or how it happened.But it’s like the hand of God reached in and turned my heart right-side up. I could see the positives and possibilities in Life again.
Then on day 39 or 40, when my friend and I were body-boarding in the ocean and I caught a big wave, I smiled. A big smile that came all the way from my heart. Right before my back surgery, body boarding or surfing was my next dream. I thought the surgery sent that dream packing forever — until day 39. My friend noticed it first.
I was happy again.
Today, the alleged embezzler’s name crossed my mind.
“God bless her,” I said.Then I immediately turned on myself.Why am I doing that?I’m the one who could use some blessings now.Bank of America might value their customers, but they don’t value their customer’s claims, at least not when the allegedly forged checks amount to almost half a million dollars.Even when the Bank of America employee assured me that B of A would make every single forged checked good so I wouldn’t have to take the financial loss, I knew the bank would find a loophole, a tech, and some way out — which they did.
It looks like I’ll have to start blessing the bank, too.
Many years ago, when I first started recovery, people taught me not to harbor resentments against people, places, or institutions. When I asked how to let go of these resentments, people told me to ask God to bless anyone I resented until the resentment disappeared. It might take months or years, but that simple activity always worked.Now, when the alleged embezzler’s name or the words “Bank of America” come to mind, instead of focusing on the negative emotions I feel, I ask God to please the person or institution.
The day will come when the alleged embezzler’s name or Bank of America will pass through my mind and I won’t feel the negativity. It will be replaced by true peace.
The hardest part of having so much money embezzled has just begun.It will be over when my pain and resentments have turned into forgiveness.
I don’t have to hire the alleged embezzler ever again. I don’t have to let her legally off the hook (I couldn’t anyway as it’s a criminal case now).I don’t have to speak to her again.But the pain from eight years of alleged lies and betrayal, of her looking at me and saying how much I mean to her (yeah, half a million dollar’s worth), the resentments and hurt all need to be gone.
There’s an old song about not letting the circle be broken. The only thing that can break it is a heart closed to love. Until the circle becomes mended, my work isn’t done.The other parts of this experience were easy compared to this.
“She won,” I told my friend.
“What are you talking about?” he said.“She’s charged with ten felony counts of swindling.You didn’t lose.”
I shook my head.“I wave the white flag.This was like a rape. Just like rapes aren’t about sex — they’re about anger — this wasn’t just about the money.It was about the power.And yes, she won.It knocked me down, took away my belief in myself and Life, and I’m not up off the ground yet.”
My friend turned on his computer and found a segment from Rocky Six. Rocky One, Two and Three helped me start my writing career decades ago.I didn’t know a Rocky Four or Five existed, much less Six. My friend fumbled until finding the right quote.Then he cranked up the volume to make sure I heard.
I’m just paraphrasing, and probably not doing the scene justice.But in it, Sylvester Stallone –as Rocky — lectured his son.He said it wasn’t about how hard he got hit. It was about how hard he could get hit and still get back up again, and stop blaming others.
I’m grateful for friends who care and for Sylvester Stallone. I’m grateful for smiles that come from deep inside. I’m grateful because I’m not alone.
I’ll see you soon here in the mystery where Life can be black, but it’s still a gift.
It’s good to be back.