What to do if I loaned a friend a sizeable amount of money when she was in dire straits and going throug a divorce but she has not paid me back?

Question Details: She was aware that I was taking out a loan. She and her husband had an expensive house that was not selling and the promise was that she would repay the loan when the house sold. It has taken the house almost 5 years to sell. During the 5 years she was unable to make any payments with the exception of one payment on the loan. I approached her about paying back the money and she is refusing to pay. All I have are cancelled checks written to her and the contractor that had made the repairs on her father's house that she had to go live in. Is it futile for me to hire a lawyer? Unfortunatley I have no IOU signature loan and I know, not wise.

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