Granny Day

Mal | Current Events,Here and Now,Simplicity | Monday, April 13th, 2009

An image last year's Granny Day.

This weekend, I celebrated Granny Day — 10 years after my sweet grandmother passed away. I used to celebrate Granny Day on the day she died, but for the past few years I moved celebrations to her birthday. I wrote a bit about her a couple of weeks ago when I was musing about passing on textile arts.

Blueberry Pancakes Coming Up

Celebrating Granny Day is no easy task. The idea is to live like she did for one day. It involves making delicious food from scratch, doing something creative, giving something away. It involves waking up early and going to bed late, calling someone you love to check up on them, and making sure all the chores get done. It involves fulfilling your own needs while being sensitive to the needs of others. It’s a little exhausting.

The day Granny died, she woke early and pruned down the raspberry patch on their small, self-sustaining farm. She made her weekly bread from scratch — enough loaves to share with neighbors (as always). Granny worked on a sewing project, went and voted, took dinner to a neighbor who’d been sick, and watched the news while she crocheted. Before she went to bed, she wrote in her journal and tidied up. In other words, according to my values, she lived the perfect last day.

Me and Granny

The picture above is of Granny and me working on a quilt together. It’s the last photo I have of her, and was taken about 2 months before she passed away. I’ve lost many people in my life since I lost Granny (and, let’s face it, at this point she would be well into her 90′s and probably gone anyway), but I still get teary-eyed every time I talk about her. She was incredibly influential in my life.

Granny Day 2008

Granny believed in hard work. She believed in learning (a teacher and school librarian for 50 years). Granny believed in giving things away, in abundance for all, and in caring for others. She was creative and dynamic but in a quiet, humble way. She was keenly insightful with her advice and her counsel. She lived close to the earth in literal and figurative ways. Granny was a dynamo and we all wanted to be like her. I still do.

Granny Day 2008

You can celebrate Granny Day, too. Simplify things, get to the raw, whole ingredients, think of your loved ones, serve those around you.

Do you have someone that you miss?


  1. i really love the notion of granny day…what a lovely way to pay tribute to a wonderful woman. my grandmother’s birthday was sept. 11, a day which she didn’t live to see tainted by the events that date brings to all of our minds. i’ll have to share this idea with mom, who has mentioned wishing to redeem grandma’s birthday from the horrors that date carries today.

    this is a lovely post and i’m sure your granny would be most happy to know you celebrate her in this way.

    Comment by julochka — 13 April 2009 @ 3:35 pm

    love the post. love your drawings. hmm, I’m seeing a quilt….

    Comment by V — 13 April 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Excellent idea. Thanks for sharing it. I think I’ll celebrate Granny Day here too. My Granny died two years ago this month. I was largely pregnant with Quinn and I was with her in the emergency room. She knew she was going to die and we were just keeping her alive until her daughters could arrive and say their goodbyes. She kept her hand on my belly and smiled every time the baby kicked. Although she’ll never meet him I know she loved feeling his life. It was a peaceful way to leave the earth. The circle of life.

    Comment by Amy — 14 April 2009 @ 5:43 pm

  4. Your Granny sounded wonderful. I want to be like her when I grow up! This is a wonderful way to pay hommage to a special person.

    Comment by Emma — 14 April 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  5. love your lettering! How nice to have had a special granny!

    Comment by upstatelisa — 15 April 2009 @ 5:31 am

  6. I’m new to your blog (via my friend Liz on Twitter) – and just had to say – What a way to celebrate a beautiful woman and her beautiful life. This warmed my heart so completely, and is so timely, my someone passed away 5 years ago tomorrow (5! It feels like just yesterday and clouded, distant past all at the same time) Thank you for sharing about your Granny, and your celebration, it’s such a great tribute. It’s important to celebrate those lives that shape our own so much – Hugs to you!

    Comment by mel — 15 April 2009 @ 7:44 am

  7. Oh my gosh, I love this! What an amazingly loving tribute and one that I am most certain she probably approves of. I love the journal, but I really love the simple philosophy behind the whole thing. Wow, blown away. And I agree with Emma, I want to be your Granny when I grow up!

    Comment by Dawn — 15 April 2009 @ 7:55 am

  8. Beautiful tribute.
    I am getting lost in your blog. What a find!

    Comment by wagonized — 16 April 2009 @ 7:21 pm

  9. a truly lovely way to celebrate your granny. i love the idea, we should all create such thoughtful rituals around remembering the ones we’ve lost.

    i felt especially touched by your post, as my mom’s mom was *my granny and i don’t know many other people that use that moniker to identify their grandmothers. your post is a bright spot in my day.

    Comment by carina — 17 April 2009 @ 12:03 am

  10. I love this post. I don’t have a special relationship with anyone in the way you had with your grandmother, but I love reading about it. I love knowing that special relationships and special people like that are blessing our world.
    Thank you for this post!

    Comment by Dionne — 17 April 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  11. I miss my great grandmother, Monnie, who made the best cheese straws ever. I miss my grandmother (Joyce) whom I was named after, my two grandfathers. Those are the only people I’ve ever lost. I do miss them a lot. It’s good when people take the time to remember people who have passed away — people who helped them grow up.

    Comment by Joyce — 17 April 2009 @ 3:21 pm

  12. [...] particular day, I clicked through a link on Twitter from my friend Liz, which led me to Mal’s Granny Day post, and her blog Turning Turning, which led me to Disco. Neat, huh? Category: friends, happy [...]

    Pingback by Discounderworld & Why I love the internets : Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans — 4 August 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  13. My Granny passed away 4 years ago tomorrow (can’t believe it’s been that long!!) I lived with her for a period of time in my life and I still miss her like crazy everyday! She was such an amazing woman who taught me how to cook, sew, and even do my hair in old fashioned curlers. She lived a simple happy life and I want to do exactly the same! I love how you said people should keep things simple, love and help those around you, and remember those who helped us grow up :)

    Comment by jenny — 26 April 2010 @ 6:15 pm

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