Elizabeth and Richard were fated to live a tragic love story. They met and immediately fell in love, despite emotional disorders that threatened their personal relationships. Elizabeth suffered from bipolar disorder; Richard, from a personality disorder. Yet, somehow, their own mental flaws came together to form a perfect unit that allowed them to love each other wholeheartedly until Richard’s death in 1992.
With the advent of new medicine, Elizabeth slowly got better, while Richard did not. This separation of effective treatment led to Richard’s alienation of his wife, mainly through alcohol, until his demons took him away from his loving wife forever. It was heart-wrenching for Elizabeth, who over the course of twenty-two years had developed a symbiotic relationship with her husband—his inadequacies feeding hers, and vice versa.
The only way to exorcise her own mental demons was to write, and write she did. Chanson de Harold is a semi-autobiographical collection of poems, written as an ode to her marriage. It follows an ill-fated knight as he is slowly swallowed by the evils of his own mind. It is an exercise in catharsis, as a wife struggles to survive the loss of true love—one verse at a time—and heal from her own psychological wounds in the process.