zinnias in abundance

orange mum

my flowers for you
this day
began two years ago
this day

an april medley, of
un-merry marigolds, and
browning leaves
of grief; and of mourning

dewy sprinkles upon amaryllis
and, upon pretty primrose
released tears of great pride,
memories, yellow, of youth

an undone story, ‘twas
quite difficult, cruel
nature’s nocturnal nettle,
paired with apologetic peony

the sweet fragrance, of
a new bouquet – none
zinnias in abundance,
for your absence is mourned

the feelings arranged, for you
this day:
michaelmas daisies, and
much rosemary
a melancholy farewell, and
undying remembrance.

Jennifer A. Fifield

In Loving Memory, Craig Stewart Fifield 11/20/49 – 4/14/13

april’s waves

photo-1414073875831-b47709631146time for grieving here
here, this ocean cliff upon
upon months o’ drear

waves of navy blew
blew, my forlorn teardrops dry
dry from pain o’ new

 

 

Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Unsplash

Always Remember – Available Now

Always Remember OTHER SITESDedicated to my pops, the epistolary story Always Remember is a collection of thoughts, letters and poems written after his sudden passing in 2013.

Read it now on Amazon Kindle.

For more details, see My Books.

Devastated by the sudden loss of her dad, Jennifer begins writing letters to him as a way of keeping track of the things she still wants to say. Over time, her 70+ letters serve as a way to help her heal. She just wasn’t ready for the conversations to end.

how true

Daisies on whitethey’ve just
lost their father,
their lives
will never be
the same again
 
when
alone
with my
thoughts

I cannot
believe
you are
not here

the realization
felt anew
each time
I allow it

he is gone
he said
to us
quietly

our lives
will never be
the same again,
how true

*Italicized text to be attributed to the script from Sense and Sensibility.

Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Bing Images

Secondhand Opinion

smoke bing imagesAre you ever forced to smell the cigarette smoke of others? Maybe a neighbor who sits outside, a friend who enjoys lighting up after happy hour, or a coworker who smokes outside your workplace? It may seem harmless, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke can be seriously harming your health.

An eerie fact about secondhand smoke is that it contains more than 7,000 chemicals – hundreds of which are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer. Nonsmokers are inhaling many of the same substances and poisons that can cause cancer in smokers (CDC).

Jennifer Fifield, a writer and blogger living in San Diego, became curious about how often she was being exposed and decided to run a month-long personal experiment to see how many times she was forced to smell the smoke of others.

Jennifer discovered that while living near the beach in California seems like a healthy environment, it is quite the opposite. She was exposed to cigarette smoke 91 times during the month of July 2014 (see list below). That is almost three times each day!

A few more findings:

  • She breathed other people’s smoke 28 of the 31 days in July.
  • If she had non-smoking neighbors, she would have been exposed 36 fewer times.
  • While running along the boardwalk, she was exposed to cigarette smoke 26 times.
  • Jennifer was exposed to smoke at least two times each time she went running.
  • She breathed smoke in her car, from drivers beside her, 7 times.
  • She would have avoided smoke 17 times if she didn’t take walks around her neighborhood.

More facts: According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is to blame for the estimated 42,000 heart disease-related deaths in current non-smokers each year in the U.S. Additionally, the CDC states on their website that since the Surgeon General’s Report of 1964 that 2.5 million nonsmoking adults have died because they breathed the secondhand smoke of others.

So what’s the solution?

  • Talk to your friends, family and neighbors who smoke. As much strife as it might cause, everyone should be able to breathe smoke-free air.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be an advocate of anti-smoking laws and bans that are occurring in your area.

Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Dates & Locations

01. 07/01/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
02. 07/01/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
03. 07/01/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
04. 07/01/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
05. 07/01/14: walking on campus, SDSU (smoke-free campus)
06. 07/01/14: parking lot, Target, Mission Valley
07. 07/01/14: parking lot, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Mission Valley
08. 07/02/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
09. 07/03/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
10. 07/04/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
11. 07/04/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
12. 07/04/14: fireworks show, parking lot across from Balboa Golf Course
13. 07/04/14: fireworks show, parking lot across from Balboa Golf Course
14. 07/06/14: Seaport Village
15. 07/06/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
16. 07/06/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
17. 07/07/14: walking on Turquoise Street
18. 07/07/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
19. 07/07/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
20. 07/07/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
21. 07/07/14: walking to the beach, Tourmaline
22. 07/09/14: in my car, Wells Fargo Bank drive thru
23. 07/09/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
24. 07/10/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
25. 07/10/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
26. 07/11/14: walking in alley, to get to Turquoise Street
27. 07/11/14: walking on Turquoise Street
28. 07/11/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
29. 07/11/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
30. 07/12/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
31. 07/12/14: walking on Del Monte Street
32. 07/12/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
33. 07/12/14: walking along Sunset Cliffs Beach
34. 07/13/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
35. 07/13/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
36. 07/13/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
37. 07/13/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
38. 07/13/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
39. 07/14/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
40. 07/15/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
41. 07/15/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
42. 07/16/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
43. 07/16/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
44. 07/16/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
45. 07/16/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
46. 07/17/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
47. 07/17/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
48. 07/17/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
49. 07/17/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
50. 07/18/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
51. 07/18/14: walking in alley, to get to Turquoise Street
52. 07/18/14: walking in alley, to get to Turquoise Street
53. 07/18/14: inside my house, neighbor in back
54. 07/20/14: walking in alley, to get to Turquoise Street
55. 07/20/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
56. 07/20/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
57. 07/20/14: walking in Ocean Beach
58. 07/20/14: Sunset Cliffs Beach
59. 07/21/14: inside my house, neighbor in back
60. 07/22/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
61. 07/23/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
62. 07/23/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
63. 07/23/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
64. 07/23/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
65. 07/23/14: inside my house, neighbor in back
66. 07/24/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
67. 07/25/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
68. 07/25/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
69. 07/25/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
70. 07/25/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
71. 07/25/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
72. 07/25/14: driving in my car, someone smoking in their car
73. 07/26/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
74. 07/26/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
75. 07/26/14: walking along Mission Bay
76. 07/26/14: walking along Mission Bay
77. 07/27/14: inside my house, neighbor, not sure which one
78. 07/27/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
79. 07/28/14: walking on campus, SDSU (smoke-free campus)
80. 07/28/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
81. 07/28/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
82. 07/29/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
83. 07/29/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
84. 07/30/14: walking, car driving by
85. 07/30/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
86. 07/30/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way
87. 07/31/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
88. 07/31/14: running along the boardwalk, Pacific Beach
89. 07/31/14: walking around Mission Valley Mall
90. 07/31/14: walking around Mission Valley Mall
91. 07/31/14: inside my house, neighbor across the way

Also, see these related posts on The Writing Life:

References:

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health effects of secondhand smoke. Retrieved on 8/23/2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm

(2) American Cancer Society. Secondhand smoke. What is secondhand smoke. Retrieved 8/23/2014 from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke

Jennifer A. Fifield

Image: Bing Images

Life in Colors

art floral vintage rainbow  background with astersVictoria painted every day now. Creativity and emotion seeped from her skin after losing her husband.

But she would have given anything to be less creative again. To have him back. To see his face. To touch his hand. To watch him walk. To hear him laugh. To listen to his voice.

With each brush stroke on the canvas she thought about life, and about it’s strangeness. Some days the painting calmed her. Some days she could not be calmed by anything.

She chose different colors for the moods that she was in. Dark gray and blue for days when she felt that life was just a bit too harsh. Bright yellow and orange when she missed him terribly and wanted to feel his warmth and cheer. Deep green and red when she wanted to scream at the world through vibrant color.

She felt weak, but wanted to be strong. Life had dealt her so much. Breast cancer at age 44. Breast cancer again at 51. And the health issues of her beloved husband. She had fought a hard fight, and at times painted in various shades of white, a surrender that seemed easy and painless.

For how was she to go on?

Now alone, a young woman. She walked the beach each morning, picking up a shell for each time she thought of her lost love. Thirty nine years they had spent together. She knew of nothing else. No love as great as the love they shared.

She spoke out to him. She felt close to him here. The ocean, so vast and open. She knew he was out there. She knew he was watching. She knew he was listening.

The waves rolled back and forth and wet her bare feet. She collapsed to the ground and released the shells from her grasp.

“Where have you gone?” she cried out, over and over.

Today she would paint in dark gray and blue.

Jennifer A. Fifield

with you gone

california poppyhow terribly mean
to experience things
that you have not seen

how difficult to smile
when you’ve been gone
all this while

how sad to not ponder
all day, about how I
couldn’t have been fonder

how selfish to laugh at jokes
I catch myself, and my
what sadness it evokes

how heartless to go on
to live life
with you gone

 

Jennifer A. Fifield

In memory, Craig Stewart, Nov 1949-Apr 2013

Image: Photo by Jennifer Fifield