Rest in Peace, Coach CoCo

Our amazing Coach CoCo passed away this morning in her sleep surrounded by her family. While the news is devastating to so many of us, I do think the outpouring of love and support these past few days (and throughout her fight) gave her great comfort in knowing she lived a life full of love, compassion and positive impact on so many around her, particularly the young people who adored her.
In working with her at Eclipse, I have had a very unique inside look into her fight and seeing how strong she is. CoCo would literally go to the doctor to get a scan or get her new chemo and then be out at the field ready to coach later that day. This was not a one time thing, but something she just did regularly.
Her strongest moment was a few weeks ago when her doctor called her with the terrible news that things had turned for the worst and she would not have much time left. She was at Orinda Sports Field when she received the call. After talking and hugging, I let her know we’d be there to support her and that she should take the day off. CoCo wiped away the tears and went and ran her team’s practice. That was her final day coaching at Eclipse and something I will never forget. To hear that news, think of the kids first, and be able to pull it together to go run a practice was remarkable – but that was CoCo.
She was the best mom to her girls. She always put them first. She always focused her energy on making sure she was involved in what they liked to do. She was glowing about all of the vacations they were able to go on this past year+ and really bond as a family. She was the cool mom with the pink hair!
Most importantly though, we’ll all just miss her ridiculous levels of positive energy and fun! Her colorful hair will be missed around town and at the field. She whipped and nae naed better than anyone I have ever seen and often led her teams and PE classes in her patented routine. She could joke and laugh with the youngest Eclipse kids in the same way she could with all of the parents and coaches. Whether it was an ice cream party with 8-year-olds or a night out at Fourth Bore, CoCo was the life of the party.
CoCo meant a lot to me personally and to Eclipse as a whole. Here is the final message I was able to share with her:

“I feel lucky that I was able to get to see you the other night. Even in your most challenging moment, it was like nothing had changed. We talked about Eclipse, all of the great kids and families, and most importantly we cracked some of the same jokes we say almost daily and still got to laugh about it all. I know how much Eclipse has meant to you, and that is something that makes me feel special. It will be hard to have the impact that you have had, but all of us coaches will try to be a bit more like CoCo! I hope you understand the impact you have had on Eclipse and the entire community. The fight, the energy, the positivity, the kindness, the compassion – all of it. Everywhere you went, you left it better than before you got there.

At times like these, it’s easy to slip into cliches, but they don’t make sense in this situation. “Be Strong” – you are strong. “Keep fighting” – you have fought harder than anyone I have ever seen. “Stay positive” – Your positive light shines even in the darkest moments. “We will miss you” – While we will certainly miss your physical presence when the time comes, you aren’t going anywhere. CoCo exists through hundreds, if not thousands, of kids you have taught and coached. CoCo exists through countless friends and family whose lives are all better because of you being it.

I always joked about how many times you have thanked me for “letting” you be a part of Eclipse. THANK YOU for everything you have brought to these kids! You have changed many lives and your impact will be felt for generations to come. No one will forget you because you’ll always be here with us. Everyone at Eclipse loves you CoCo. Thank you for fighting to give all of us this extra time with you.”

If you’d like to share your thoughts and feelings with her family, you can post them at her caringbridge at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/colettebowler2.
As details of her celebration of life become available, I will be in touch.

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