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November
27
2020

November 27, 2020

Hello dear family and friends -- 

As you know, Ellen Ruth Gosselink Cochran, passed away on September 29, 2020 after a brief and courageous battle with cancer. We are memorializing her amazing life on Wednesday, December 2, at 4 p.m. PST. 

You can watch her memorial service online by clicking this link on Wednesday, 12/2, at 4 pm PST: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2JD4L0qodY1cmvJP9W6K7g.

We hope you are able to join us. 

Warmly, 
Dick, Caryn and Julie Cochran

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November
1
2020

November 1, 2020

Ellen Cochran, 78, passed away on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 in her Sacramento home and surrounded by family after a brief and courageous battle with cancer.  While her physical presence will be greatly missed, her legacy is forever present in all who were blessed to know her.

Ellen Ruth Gosselink Cochran was born in Holland, Michigan. A pastor’s daughter, her family moved frequently and she lived in Grey Hawk, KY; Modesto, CA; and Sacramento, CA. She graduated from El Camino High School in 1959. She graduated Central College (where she met her husband, Dick) in Pella, IA in 1963. Together, Dick and Ellen settled in Sacramento and raised two children, Caryn and Julie.

Ellen had four dominant life-long passions that really define her legacy: family, music, teaching, and her Christian faith.

Ellen’s Christian faith was the centerpiece of her life. She was a charter member of Hope Community Church in Sacramento, and later a member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder and director of adult education. She led a Bible study for the former members of Hope Church and was a long-time leader in Bible Study Fellowship; the love and fellowship found in both was a true blessing to Ellen.

Violin was an integral part of Ellen’s life from childhood. As a child and teen, she won many music competitions and was the concert master of every youth and school orchestra in which she took part. She was the concert master of the Camilla Symphony from 1974-1999 and was a member of the Camilla String Quartet from 1980-2020. 

Ellen taught elementary and middle school orchestra for the Sacramento Unified School District’s Einstein Middle School. She retired from teaching (as a middle school science teacher) in 2004.  Ellen also gave private violin and piano lessons in her home for decades.

Ellen was deeply devoted to her family.  No matter the role - daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, and grandmother – she was selfless in her loving commitment and service to others.  She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Dick; her daughter Caryn, her husband Russ, and grandchildren Miles and Tyler; daughter Julie, her partner Michelle, and grandson Arie. She is preceded in death by her parents, Nicholas and Henrietta Gosselink, and her dear friends Bob and Sallie Brown.

A family memorial service will be held and livestreamed on December 2 at 4 p.m. A link to the livestream service will be shared later. A celebration of Ellie’s life will be held once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Memorial gifts in Ellen’s name may be made to Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3255 Pope Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95821.

 

September
29
2020

September 29, 2020

Dearest family and friends --

Our Ellen Ruth Gosselink Cochran, faithful follower of Jesus, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, friend, violinist, student and teacher, agate hunter, world traveler, and lover of life, died today at 12:35 p.m. My dad, Julie and I were with her and blessed her last moments holding her hands and reciting the Lord's Prayer. Fittingly, a Bach Partita was playing in the background. 

My dad was reading Psalm 143 from The Message immediately before she started her final passage. These  verses stood out to him and he wanted to share them with you:

Listen to this prayer of mine, God; pay attention to what I'm asking. Answer me -- you're famous for your answers.

If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I'll go to sleep each night trusting in You. 
 
Point out the road I must travel. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland. 


There aren't words for this experience. Nor are there words that adequately express how your love and kindness have supported the four of us and our families. Without knowing it, you have been clearing and leveling the way. 

September
29
2020

September 29, 2020

Still here.

All four of us are still here in a space that feels like time and reality have been suspended. Several times yesterday and last night we thought Mom was truly leaving, but her heart continues to beat in a steady (albeit slower) rhythm. This heart that was strengthened through decades of rigorous exercise ... this heart that has been sustained by the love of her many communities (music, church, neighborhood, most especially family) ... this heart that is so soft for her pets and all animals (Ellen's secret: she fed our dog Kelly with a spoon) ... this heart that she poured out into her violin  ... this heart beats on this morning. 

The hospice doctor told us that her fitness when she became ill gave her extra time. My dad, Julie and I have been reflecting that last week was that extra time. Mom was able to really enjoy foods she had long-denied herself to keep herself healthy. She shared last weekend with Julie's and my family and regaled our children with stories of her childhood, dating and marrying their grandfather/Opa, what Julie and I were like as little girls. She had really great visits with her sisters and was able to share a fully present and heartfelt connection with them both. And we laughed: my husband Russ's wrestling match with the screen door (the screen door won), the identity of the Graham Grabber revealed, the perilous hike back from Captain Cook's cove. 

So yesterday the three of us did everything we could to help her tie up loose ends. My parents' pastor Jack anointed her with oil and prayed for her journey, we assured her that everyone she holds dear is OK and will be OK even after she leaves, her sister Vera gave her permission to go, and we again held vigil last night and assured her we are loving her on. 

Today begins another day of a blessed and still-beating heart. 

September
28
2020

September 28, 2020

Friends and family -- we entered a liminal space when my mom decided to go into hospice. Last night feels like all four of us plunged into the depths of the unknown in-between. My mom is in transition. We are doing all we can to help her die with peace and dignity, something she wanted from the very beginning. The three of us surrounded her bed and sat vigil, sometimes sleeping and most of the time not. We are weary of being in this in between -- wanting/not wanting our wife and mom to let go. We ask for your prayers for my mom's journey, comfort and peace for my dad, Julie and me. There isn't far to go.

September
27
2020

September 27, 2020

Oops -- somehow today's message was posted to yesterday. Check September 26 for the latest update.
September
27
2020

September 26, 2020

Good morning friends and family -- Caryn here. I have no idea how my parents managed to squeeze out a blog post every night. Plan on morning messages from now on ...

Our new (and now favorite) hospice nurse was out yesterday and changed up our entire medication regime, which brought a whole new level of relief for my mom and therefore us. She also confirmed what we have long suspected -- that multiple tumors in my mom's abdomen and pelvic area are the cause of so much of her discomfort. We now have a program that keeps my mom consistently comfortable with additional measures should she have any breakthrough pain or nausea.  She also shared that my mom continues to have a very strong will (this surprises no one) which doesn't match what her body is doing. When she is somewhat awake she continues to ask about her sister Beth's recovery from a recent shoulder replacement, her brother-in-law Phil who has Parkison's, and how her grandchildren are faring with online/hybrid college/school. This also is no surprise that she holds others she knows are struggling in her thoughts. 

Another significant change our nurse recommended was a hospital bed to help my mom's breathing and make swallowing liquids easier.  Mom is now settled in our living room situated so she can see her flowers, cards and sign (formally posted along her walking route on the bike trail).  This move was especially hard on my dad. Julie and I ask that you keep him close in your hearts today as the transition to the hospital bed is a uniquely pointed and painful sign that his beloved is leaving us. 

We are now all three set up in the living room -- Dad on the couch right next to my mom and Julie and I on the floor. Julie said this morning it reminded her of camping together in the tent trailer at Patrick's Point.  Thank God for memories of hunting for agates, hiking the Rim Trail, and watching the waves crash at sunset.

 

September
26
2020

September 26, 2020

Good morning family and friends -- this is Caryn writing. We had a difficult day yesterday controlling my mom's nausea and are hopeful that new medications we started last night will smooth out my mom's symptoms. She is pretty heavily medicated all the time now. My dad, Julie and I are quite a team and are tending to my mom around the clock. We are buoyed by your love and care (and food, flowers, cards and this morning's FaceTime violin performance of one of my mom's favorite pieces by grandson Miles). Julie and I are especially grateful to our partners who are carrying our households while we are here with our parents (and I'll say especially Michelle who has sweet grandson  Arie and work she is juggling). We ask for your thoughts and prayers and know that you join us in our deepest desire to have a peaceful, nausea-free day.