I went back and watched the recording of our coaching call from last week since for some reason Zoom had not let me in until about 10 minutes into the call, even though I had signed in 10 minutes before it started. It turned out that I hadn't missed very much but by rewatching the rest of the call, I picked up a lot more of the talk on limits and boundaries. These are things that perfectionists have trouble with so it was good to look at these concepts and ponder their more positive aspects.
What was most interesting to me was listening to the question I posed about how to approach a section of the chapbook I have been working on for months. I want it to be the poem that really makes my husband come alive at the beginning of the poem. Right now, it is three versions of the poem, tentatively called "Midsummer Night Fantasy." I started writing it at some point after we had been to a production of "Midsummer Night's Dream" that was the result of 20 years of preparatory creation. It was the most magical theater I have ever seen, appealing to all five senses and often overloading them. You literally couldn't see and hear everything that was happening on or off or above the stage at any point in the play. I think even Shakespeare would have been stunned and fascinated and carried beyond himself. It was like living in several alternate universes at once. The fact that a musician I know played the French horn in this production--and that her playing is almost mystical--made it even more enrapturing.
One of the opening scenes shows the human bride being fitted with a petticoat that is very like a cage. In the back of my mind I probably recognized some cultural critique of marriage in Shakespeare's time or currently, but as I sat there with my beloved husband I knew that for me marriage had unleashed me to be my best and most liberated self, that the love poured out on me enabled me to soar to heights I had never imagined I'd reach, to becoming a loving mother of six children (I had been a terrible babysitter) and a writer whose work was seen as valuable and beautiful, and the wife in a couple who became a true team who accepted each other's weaknesses, often with humor, and leaned into each other's strengths.
I originally said that what I was afraid of losing if I attempted to bring these three versions into one poem was the whole experience of the play, but when I thought about it today, I realized that what I am really afraid of is losing my husband all over again, that by, in a sense, making him live again, I will also have to plunge into the grief that has been my companion the past seven years, seeing again the magnitude of my loss.
However, even as I wrote those words, I know now that although his loss is always present, there is also another whose love is even greater and more profound, whose love has wrapped my beloved's love in his and who embraces me with both a finite and infinite passion that is healing and sustaining.
So. I am no longer afraid.