My Grandmother Always Had Geraniums In Her Window And Today, Without Realizing It, I Brought Some Home

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Grief is such a strange thing.

It shifts and changes and comes and goes.

Sometimes life feels exactly as it was before.

Sometimes, like a violent thunderstorm rolling quickly across a once blue sky, it takes your breath away and holds you hostage as the lightning crashes down around you.

I remember standing at the window of the hospital where my father was dying. I knew we were losing him. I knew he would very soon take his last breath.

Courtesy of Jesica Ryzynski

Yet outside, the world went on. Cars filled with people on their way to places stopped at the lights, and then carried on. People hurried past in the rain.

I remember thinking how strange it all was. How incredibly surreal that as a man lay dying, life simply went on.

I’ll never forget that feeling for as long as I live.

Recently, I also lost my grandmother. We were extremely close, and even though she had lived a full life, the last year of her life was completely stolen from her by Covid. ‘Held prisoner’ in a retirement home. Her words.

Woman smiles and poses with grandmother at outside event
Courtesy of Jesica Ryzynski

It was heartbreaking. I was finally able to touch her and hold her when she was dying in the hospital.

And as I left the hospital after visiting her, I had the exact same feeling.

How does life just go on?

It feels as though everything should stop.

Of course it doesn’t. It can’t. And it shouldn’t.

No matter how much it hurts.

But I do think we have this need to hold a place for our loved ones somehow. A need to somehow keep them here with us when they can’t stay.

I was thinking about this today as I took some time to do some gardening.

I had been to the garden center, which I love doing, and bought some bright flowers to fill my porch.

My grandmother loved flowers and gardening. She had such a green thumb, and even after she moved into an apartment and no longer had her flower beds, she always had violets and geraniums in her window.

Woman smiles while holding her daughter and an Elmo toy with her grandmother on one side and her father on the other
Courtesy of Jesica Ryzynski

My favorite flowers are Black Eyed Susan’s. My dad called them Brown Eyed Jesi’s. I have grown them in my flower beds every single year and they always flourish. I’m holding a place for him here.

My stepdad had the craziest expressions and sayings. Since he passed I’ve continued to use them to such an extent that my oldest daughter now does as well. I’m holding a place for him here.

My grandmother loved geraniums. And today, without even realizing I was doing it, I brought some home. I’m holding a place for her here.

And I always will.”

Woman shares photo of lovely new geraniums to honor late grandmother
Courtesy of Jesica Ryzynski

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jesica Ryzynski of Is That Chocolate Or Poop? and originally appeared here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Jesica here:

‘Well, the baby is your half-brother. Not your brother.’ The pediatrician corrected my daughter. I was completely taken aback.’: Woman reminds us ‘love’ is what makes family, ‘there is nothing half about it!’

‘I caught a glimpse of her little polka dot covered legs in Best Buy. Tears came to my eyes. Like a gut punch, I realized just how much I’m going to miss this one day.’: Mom urges ‘soak in every moment’ with your ‘wild child’

‘If you’re humming a wiggles tune while checking out college campuses, I see you. It’s a crazy ride. And you’re not alone.’: For all the parents raising teenagers and toddlers at the same time

‘Don’t worry about the Joneses. They might happily trade in that 6-bedroom home for exactly what you have.’: Mom reminds us to be grateful for what we have, ‘if your little place is filled with love and warmth, you’re already rich’

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