July 23, 2021

A woman’s wish: ‘I prayed I could be a grandma like the one I had’

By John Shaughnessy

When Carol Blasdel became a grandmother for the first time in 2013, she prayed that she could be “a grandma like the one I had”—someone who taught her to savor the simple blessings of life, someone who tried to show her how to persevere through the heartbreak and challenges of life.

Blasdel remembers attending Sunday Mass with her “Grandma”—Cathleen Stier Loyd—and how she would often take Carol or one of her three siblings to a restaurant for breakfast after Mass.

“We felt so special to go to the restaurant with Grandma,” recalls Blasdel, a member of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg. “She would get coffee and toast, and I would get chocolate milk and toast. I don’t know why the toast tasted so much better at the restaurant. I think it was the company of Grandma. She was always interested in what we were doing and fun to talk to. She was funny. She also knew so many people. Everyone would talk to her.”

Another defining experience were the trips they made together to the cemetery.

“Grandma lost her husband in 1940 when my mom was 9 and my aunt was 7,” Blasdel says. “She also had two babies that were born who died shortly after birth. Life was pretty hard, but Grandma persevered. That always impressed me as I got older.

“I remember we grandkids would take fresh flowers to ‘the babies’ and Grandpa Loyd’s grave with Grandma. We wrapped peonies and tulips in wet paper towels with rubber bands wrapped around the stems. I knew Grandma seemed sad when we visited the cemetery, but I could tell it brought her peace.”

Her grandmother also gave her a lasting lesson about faith.

“I grew up knowing that this life on Earth is temporary and our everlasting life is in heaven, hopefully!” †

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