My older sister Joan said she was counting on me to write her eulogy but since I will probably go before her I thought I better get started.
Joan Louise Beckman was born September 3, 1952 to Floyd and Rose Beckman. Joan was born on a day that my dad had an important baseball game but he chose to be by his wife’s side waiting for their fifth child to be born. Joan was a pretty baby with the most beautiful big brown eyes that looked almost black.
Growing up with Joan was easy to get along with because she was always so laid-back. I don’t remember her fighting with any of us because she was so kind. She wasn’t only kind, she was patient as well. She was so patient with me when she tried to teach me how to drive her stick shift car. After many attempts of me grinding the gears and stalling her car I gave up because I didn’t want to wreck her car but Joan was willing to keep trying.
I was honored when Joan asked me to be her maid of honor at her wedding. Three years after Joan and John’s marriage they gave birth to their first child, Eric, who was born with a heart defect and seven weeks later he had heart surgery in Grand Rapids and died. I have never felt so helpless in my life because I couldn’t help my sister who I loved so deeply.
John and Joan’s sadness after losing their precious baby boy Eric affected their lives deeply but they didn’t let it ruin things because they were able to have four more beautiful children, Amy, Jodie, Kara and Andy.
Joan’s greatest achievement in her lifetime was her ability to love her children unconditionally through good times and bad. Not every parent is able to love unconditionally during the bad times but Joan was. Actually, Joan’s unconditional love wasn’t just for her children, siblings and friends but for people that needed her kind heart to help them function daily. Not only did she help our cousin Chris who had Parkinson’s disease and our elderly friend Linda who had physical limitations, but she brought sunshine and joy to their lives as well.
In February of 2012 Joan was having chest pains that wouldn’t go away so she drove herself to the emergency room and after some testing was admitted and a few days later had open heart surgery. Joan wasn’t going to call anyone because she didn’t want anyone to worry. During her surgery I witnessed immense love in the waiting room from her kids, family and friends. Through Joan’s recovery her kids were by her side and showed that same unconditional love Joan taught them through her everyday actions.
Unconditional love is the greatest achievement of all. If actions speak louder than words, Joan’s actions of how she lived her life and how she loved have earn her the greatest reward ever, a great view from Heaven.