Madoff: 2 years later

December 12th 2008 is our families darkest day.  Our own Sept 11th where everything changed, well not everything.

I have to take it as a healthy sign that was I was unaware the anniversay was on upon us.  That is until Thursday night MSNBC called and asked if I would speak about my experience the following morning.  I am on the media radar as I quickly stuck my neck out, after we found out about being robbed, by finding a lawyer who would take up our case.  I was the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against Stanely Chais, the head of the feeder fund we were in (though we had to drop it once the gov.’t stepped in).  I had never heard of B. Madoff, that was the late Mr. Chais’s secret that he was handing all the money to him. I agreed to do it because 1) to give a face to this story 2) they said they would mention coolmom and I always need to drive traffic here.

The anchor asked me to talk about the day that I found out.  I did and told her the wrenching tale.  I also mentioned that I had thrown up for 24 hours after I found out.  She asked how we were doing and I said basically that, after the shock we decided that Madoff ruined his life, he wasn’t going to ruin ours.  We had a baby boy on the way and we would celebrate that.  We did have a party, albeit potluck, but it was great.  I told the newswoman, fab Chris Jansing, that it was hard to rebuild in the great recession.

“Do you still get sick to the stomach?” She asked

“No, I think I am passed that.” But I spoke about my anxiety and how some of the members of my family have had depression issues because of this.

I was driven home by a car they hired. I was thinking, that went okay, good I will be home in time to take Vivien to school and then it hit me.  I ran into the house and I did get sick.  I had flown to close to the flame.  I had allowed myself to get too deep and feel the trauma again, the life change, the “holy crap what are we going to do now?” pit in my stomach.

But, what always sets me right again is time with my kids, (exercise as well, but not in the cards that day) seeing good friends.  Okay, deep breath, seeing the glass half full again.

Then Saturday came the news that Mark Madoff had hung himself.  I found this very upsetting.  I always thought that he and his brother knew something of the scam, though I don’t KNOW that.  Yet, I was shaken by his suicide just from a humanity level and because his 2 year old was in the next room.  He left behind 4 children.  Call it the Stockholm syndrome, but I did feel a connection with Mark Madoff at this news.  Two years later, though we had never met and were on different ends of this grand theft, he was still very affected by it as was I and my family.  It actually made me feel less odd for feeling sick to my stomach.  I thought a lot about Mr. Madoff’s death as I slept. Sunday, I realized my body was aching.   I told my husband that I had been physcially dormet this week and I wanted to go and take a yoga class.  At first it felt good, but half way through the class I couldn’t stop shaking, like I was freezing, but I knew I wasn’t. I felt ill and I phoned Mark. “you must have a touch of the flu” he said.  I drove home and got into bed.

Fortunatly my sister Cecily- a therapist- came over and was very good to talk to.  She said it’s standard mental health stuff that people are vulnerable around the anniversarys of trauma.  Mark Madoff clearly .  Now, I was having a little anxiety attack of sorts. Some good food and time with my kids started to lighten the cramping in my body and warm me up, literally.  She reminded me about a great, cheap massage place near my mom’s.  I went when Mark came home from work and I felt a TON better.  Maybe the laying on of hands.

When I came home to our crowded, messy house with the four of them eating in front of the TV, the dinner table dishevled and abandonded because “The Santa Clause” was on I felt so content I happily cleaned up the plates and the mess in the kitchen.

This weekend I was also thinking of Elizabeth Smart and how she has been able to go on after the nightmare that was foisted on her.  People like that are amazing, I know she must have her dark moments, but admire how she holds her head up and continues on.  If she can do that, this should be a walk in the park for me. But, of course it’s all relative and I think that the important thing for anyone who has had a blow of some sort, death of someone close to them, a crime, is to know that there are times, like anniversaries, that can wallop you without you knowing it.  Be gentle with yourself at these times.  Ask for help with the kids or take a walk, get a massage.  Eating lots of sugar and white flour and wine do not seem to help, I know, I’ve tried that route.

(By the way, when I write about this I ALWAYS get a few snarky comments, so let’s skip those shall we?  I know how dare I be bummed about having a lot of money stolen from me and my family.  Just humor me.)

5 thoughts on “Madoff: 2 years later

  1. this was beautifully written, daphne. i could see you speaking your truth when i read these words.

    it’s so sad that madoff’s son did this to himself. his poor children – they will never be the same, the have been robbed, too, now. it’s terrible. it seems the grief attached to this horrible crime is never ending!! i know you’re still dealing with your loss, too, and i’m sorry this ever happened to you and your family in the first place. it’s not fair.

    i admire your ability to find your compass when you need to, and a good massage never hurt a girl 🙂
    happy holidays 🙂 eileen.

  2. I want to know when do you get your life back? If tomorrow you were handed all that was stolen from you would that make it better?
    I know our situations are different but like you whenever one of my triggers happens I get sick to my stomach, anxiety attacks rear up and I have so much anger. I’m not normally an angry person. Then there is the guilt because compared to others I am lucky. Sheesh! I want off the emotional roller coaster.
    I am sorry for all you have gone and are going through.

  3. Compass is a great way to put it Eileen.

    Michelle, well, i would relax if I got that money back and I would stick it under a mattress! I DO feel I have my life. I want have the IRA or the house, but I know I am a lucky person. It’s like you said, the roller coaster-pity party, then grateful..being human.
    Happy Holidays to all.

  4. As I read this post, I found myself admiring your willingness to champion the GOOD in your life even in the midst of what must have seemed (and perhaps still seems) like an incredible obstacle. And although it’s obviously not a simple “switch” in your mind and requires love, support, focus from family and knowing yourself, I think sharing the rollercoaster moments can help people in all kinds of awful situations.

    Thank you for sharing.

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