My Oldest Brother


In 1945 my parents had a little baby boy and they named him Robert Allen Beckman. Robert was born a healthy baby but developed yellow jaundice and died three weeks after birth. My parents were so sad but didn’t have much time to grieve because they had baby Judy to care for. Judy turned one the day after Robert died and life for my parents kept getting busier with the addition of Jean, Jim, Joan, Mick, myself, Deb, Vikke and Mary during the coming years.

About thirteen years ago my parents thought it was important to purchase a gravestone for little Robert. After my parents lovingly placed the stone on Robert’s grave in Hart, Michigan, my dad tearfully told me about what they had done, but for some reason didn’t invite any of us kids to be present which is still a mystery to us all. My parents never really talked much about Robert because it was so emotional, even after sixty years.

Last week my friends Sheila Salisz and Colleen Vander Wier asked me to spend the day with them. They suggested either renting a bicycle for four or taking a trip to Mac Wood’s Dune Rides, both of which sounded fun. Two days before our girl’s day, I woke up at 3:00am thinking about Robert, so in the morning I asked the girls if they minded going on an adventure to find my brother’s grave. They loved the idea.

Just before we left for the cemetery, Mark looked on the Internet and found a picture of Robert’s gravestone, but couldn’t find a map of the Hart Cemetery, so when we arrived we looked up the Sexton right away. He was so nice and knew exactly where Robert was buried.

Sheila and Colleen are so fun and wanted to make this day extra special for me so they brought three lawn chairs, wine, beer, cheese and crackers. We set the chairs up around Robert’s grave and talked for two and half hours about life.


Finding my brother made for a great day, but spending time with great friends made it amazing.


7 thoughts on “My Oldest Brother

  1. Perhaps your big brother was reaching out to you in your dream. …so nice you found his resting place. As a parent who has lost a child, there are some things only the Mom and Dad together feel, I’m betting that placing that beautiful grave marker was a day they needed just to be together with their baby boy… see you soon, Love, Julie

  2. I cannot put into words my emotions reading this. How nice of your friends to join you and help you find your brothers resting place.

  3. Rosemary, I started a comment the other day about your big family but then my computer foze and I’m not sure it went through. So sorry if I am repeating my story! I stopped at Snug Harbor outfitter a few weeks ago and commented to Eric how I lved reading your blogs but what your whole family has endured several time now, is just heartbreaking. Eric quickly put it in perspective, he said, :ya know when ya have a big family I guess the odds for tragedy increase but so does the love and support, someone is always there for ya” and that is the Beckman legacy!

  4. loved reading this story about your oldest brother, I guess I had no idea how large your family was either……Thank you for sharing this with us… write so beautifully…..I look forward to reading your blogs they truly are an inspiration……Have a great day Rosemary……love and hugs girlie……

  5. What an amazing and loving show of support by your friends! This story touched my heart as it will for so many that read it. Thanks for sharing Rosemary!

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