ForeverMissed

Rachael: daughter, sister and sister-in-law, granddaughter, cousin, aunt, friend, student support aide, nanny--entered this world in North Vancouver and stole our hearts. She was beloved of her mom and dad (Ruth and Rob) and a great big (little) sister to her two brothers Michael and Luke. She made friends for life at school (Cleveland and Handsworth) and work, the one who gathered people together and kept them connected. Rachael was always a kid-magnet and became part of the family when she was a caregiver. Students at school loved and cheered for her. She courageously accepted the diagnosis of cancer in early 2016 and has journeyed through treatment with faith and humour. Rachael's health changed dramatically over Christmas, and she was cared for well at VGH until she moved from this life to the next.

A celebration of her life will be held at Fairview Baptist Church, 1708 W 16th Ave, Vancouver, at 2 pm on February 23, 2019. 

Rachael had asked that in lieu of flowers people might make a donation to the Meristem project at A Rocha Brooksdale in Surrey, BC. This will help to build a beautiful small prayer chapel, including a stained glass window, in memory of her dad, Rob, and Rachael. Before the memorial on Feb 23, donations can be made through the Canada Helps Fund, “BEC Meristem Project (in memory of Rob and Rachael Des Cotes). By the 23rd, you can donate directly here:  https://arocha.ca/portfolio-items/the-meristem-project/

Then come and visit when we have it built!

Posted by Paddy Ducklow on February 9, 2021
Yes, I remember too. I remember your appealing face, looking up. Your ardent stride, forceful and intentional. The way you waited and the expectation you carried. The love of your tribe around you. I miss you too, even though I was a distant one.
Posted by Donna Stewart on February 9, 2021
Our loss doesn't seem to get easier. By the time you were five you knew, not from your family, that brown people didn't get as much respect in our world as white people, but you forged ahead. What else could you do? What courage and determination you had. And such good friends. Blessings upon them.
Posted by Shauna Anderson on February 9, 2021
Remembering Rachael today - and the beautiful, gracious, caring person she was, and is in Him- sending love to the whole Des Cotes clan.
Posted by Paivi Helena Kivi-Woodyar... on July 21, 2020
I remember you Rachael as I continue to mark special days of your life. Today you with your friends and family would have been celebrating your birthday - each one of us will carry our memories of you this day in their hearts.
Posted by Ruth Des Cotes on February 9, 2020
The sun came up this morning with glory--pink and blue.....like it was a year ago, reflecting light over downtown Vancouver. You left quietly. I miss you so much.
Posted by Donna Stewart on February 9, 2020
Miss you more all the time. Yesterday I was served at a candy counter by someone who could hardly see over the counter, and I told her, "I had a granddaughter your size. She could have been doing your job. More tears. Continuing love to you and yours. Grandma
Posted by Donna Stewart on July 21, 2019
Happy birthday, dear one. I am so glad you are free of pain and living in joy.
Posted by Donna Stewart on April 6, 2019
"Friends show up" And Rachael's friends, from kWANTLEN, JULES.... SCHOOL,
CAP CHURCH, and Westside, from her Community group, from her high school and even her elementary school, showed up at her memorial service, and it warms our hearts all these weeks later. I wanted you to know that it warms my heart, still, after all these weeks. It says something about her, but also about you. Merci beaucoups.
Posted by Kai Peters on February 23, 2019
I met Rachael when I was doing my 2 year EA program at Kwantlen, we were both studying to become Education Assistants, we became friends and had a very strong bond based on the fact that were the only people in our program from Vancouver. My favorite memories were from when we would go to pubs or restaurants on Main st, every single time we hung out it was an event. Towards the end she was dealt a bad hand but she made the best out of it with sarcastic humor and a positive outlook. Thank you for being a role model and a friend. I'm going to miss you dearly. Love you, Rach
Posted by Denis Vaillancourt on February 20, 2019
We loved playing music with you gentle Rachael.
Now you play with the angels.
The Rakes will miss you.
As will everyone that ever knew you.
Love Denis, Trina and Arielle.
Posted by Nicola Underdown on February 19, 2019
Rachael swept me up and looked after me, like she did to so many other people. We met in 2010, when me & my husband relocated to Vancouver, and I started working for the Beaton’s pick up at the airport alongside her. Rachael was always so calm and unflappable, easy for everyone to get along with and able to make things run smoothly. She was a welcoming face for those students who were anxious and far from home; and she was always a welcome sight for me, too, as chatting and having fun made the hours of waiting around pass a bit more quickly! She took me under her wing, as we bonded over trash television (served with a craft beer or a cupcake) and she introduced me to some of her friends too, which helped me settle in, 5000 miles from home.
After our visas expired and we returned to the UK, Rachael and I kept in touch - sharing photos and news - and we always met up on our return trips. On my last visit, we talked about whether she might make it to the UK for a visit (and whether we could turn it into a trip to Paris, after her previous visit to become an au pair had not gone to plan). I can’t quite believe that won’t be happening; I don’t have the words to express how sad I am about that. Rachael, you will always be loved and missed on this side of the world.
Posted by Shauna Anderson on February 16, 2019
Dear Rachael - a fun, funny, beautiful, strong, fierce woman. She endured and persevered and overcame and smiled through many challenges. None of this is surprising given the Des Cotes family character but nonetheless remarkable. I was blessed to know her. Thank you Father.
Posted by Donna Stewart on February 15, 2019
Offered for the casket by her aunt Cathy Stewart:
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ to you, Rachael.
"then we will see face to face...then i will know fully, even as I have been fully known." (I Cor. 13}
Posted by Rob and Jenn Ohlhauser on February 15, 2019
Rachael - you will be missed. We have loved your fun, mellow, sarcastic, mindful, positive energy for a very long time. We appreciate the times you cared for our children years ago and knew them well in a short time.  xo Rob & Jenn
Posted by Paddy Ducklow on February 15, 2019
Serious, thoughtful, caring, resilient, hopeful and much more. I knew you too little and, from afar, admired you much.
Posted by Alana Prochuk on February 14, 2019
I became friends with Rachael way back in grade 2, when we were both in Mme Gautelier's class. That means that Rachael has been a constant in my life almost as far back as I can remember. And constant she was: incredibly loyal and gifted at maintaining decades-long friendships. Over the years, we never tired of reminiscing about and reenacting Mme Gautelier's eccentric PE teaching methods ("chassé, chassé, chassé, hop!" and "le crocodile: rampez, rampez, rampez!").

Rachael's spirit was life-loving, warm, social, unpretentious, inclusive. I can't count how many Thanksgiving feasts she single-handedly cooked up for her large circle of friends, how many times we all chilled on the floor of her cozy little Sugarbowl with her playlist in the background, sharing stories, memories, laughs, snacks, and drinks (especially craft beer from 33 Acres). A lot of us who were friends in high-school and even earlier days wouldn't still be in touch if we hadn't had Rachael to keep us connected. And new friendships were born because of Rachael, too.

Rachael's wisdom and spiritual depth made a huge and permanent impression on me. I can never forget how she kept repeating "Onward and onward (and inward)" as she coped with the horribleness and injustice of cancer. As I've said before, I think it's "Onward and onward (and inward)" with everything she taught us, all the gifts she brought into this world, which will keep enriching our futures and our inner lives. Love you, Rachael.
Posted by Liz Hodgson on February 13, 2019
I've known Rachael since she was a wee newborn, and she's always had the sense of fun, the kindness, the sass, that so many of us know her for. Though she was fragile at her birth and fragile at the end, she had many strengths and talents, and she was generous with both. Love you, honeybun/nicklemitz.
Posted by Heather Prochuk on February 13, 2019
We were privileged to know Rachael through our daughter, Alana. They met at Cleveland Elementary School and their friendship continued throughout. Rachael had an upbeat personality and a dynamite smile. She was open and caring, her laughter was infectious and her loyalty steadfast. She was such a bright light - extinguished far too soon.
Allan & Heather Prochuk
Posted by Leah Kostamo on February 12, 2019
My family was the recipient of Rachel's kid-magnet care when she looked after my daughter Maya at one of our first A Rocha conferences. I remember Rachel being so accommodating even though I think Maya cried her head off for most of the conference! I so enjoyed Rachel's presence around the first Centre where she came alongside various new interns and volunteers with friendship and encouragement (it was common back in those days to find Rachel sleeping on the Centre living-room couch in the morning after a late night of fun). Her cheekiness was a wonderful addition to our little community.
Posted by Paivi Helena Kivi-Woodyar... on February 12, 2019
I have so many fond memories of time spent with Rachael. About 12 years ago when I lived in Mount Pleasant, Rachael would come over once a week after her classes and we'd watch Bones, then House together. Each week, I repeated a line after the credits of House: "that's some bad hat Harry" and Rach would laugh each time, even though the line had worn thin. We went to movies together, we played scrabble, we visited and talked and shared food and likely a glass of wine or two. It's amazing that Rachael wanted to be my friend, especially given that I am more mother-age than peer-age, but that never seemed to bother her. So many memories: the busted knee and going downstairs on her bum, always a ready laugh - I can hear it - always gentle and kind, never a complaint about anything. I can see why people of all ages love her and why she was so great with kids.
Posted by Ruth Des Cotes on February 12, 2019
Rachael has brought a great sense of fun and love with her into this life. Her gift to others has been generous acceptance, a love which welcomed all, forgiving and quietly coming alongside both great and small, young and old. I always knew she was made to work with kids and had a special heart when, as a young girl, she sat with a severely disabled boy at church and just held his hand. She loved well!

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Paddy Ducklow on February 9, 2021
Yes, I remember too. I remember your appealing face, looking up. Your ardent stride, forceful and intentional. The way you waited and the expectation you carried. The love of your tribe around you. I miss you too, even though I was a distant one.
Posted by Donna Stewart on February 9, 2021
Our loss doesn't seem to get easier. By the time you were five you knew, not from your family, that brown people didn't get as much respect in our world as white people, but you forged ahead. What else could you do? What courage and determination you had. And such good friends. Blessings upon them.
Posted by Shauna Anderson on February 9, 2021
Remembering Rachael today - and the beautiful, gracious, caring person she was, and is in Him- sending love to the whole Des Cotes clan.
Recent stories

Remembering

Shared by Ruth Des Cotes on February 9, 2021
Today there has been a lot of remembering----a lot of it the hard parts at the end. But there were also funny bits popping through. Many of Rachael's selfies are of her with coffee: so in the first days in the hospital, when they realized there was a blockage, she wasn't supposed to drink...anything, basically.  They were also trying to get her pain meds figured out, so at one point she was quite 'loopy'. I think I was going out to have tea downstairs and Rachael dimly figured that out and said, "Ok, ok ......can you get me a Venti (coffee?/water?).  I said, 'no, Rachael, you can't drink anything....'  She paused.....(slurring slightly)..".ok ok, get me a Grande!!"  We all laughed. and repeated the constraint.....so she pointed to her mouth...."ice chips".    Fortunately, soon after, they put in a GI tube, which meant she could drink (and it would get sucked back out again)---which was very satisfying for her.  One good moment in the midst of it all.

Rachael going to the festival of friends, with Rob in the band:

Shared by Liz Hodgson on February 16, 2019

From John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progess, read at her graveside service:

From Pilgrim’s Progress (1681)

Betwixt them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over: the river was very deep. At the sight of this river, the Pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went in with them said, You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.

They then addressed themselves to the water and, entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head, all his waves go over me! Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole;. Then they both took courage. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and thus they got over.

Now, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; ….The talk they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory of the place; who told them that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible….You are going now, said they, to the paradise of God, ….

There you shall enjoy your friends again that are gone thither before you; and there you shall with joy receive, even every one that follows into the holy place after you.

….Now while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; ….. There came out also at this time to meet them, several of the King's trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises, and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound…..they compassed them round on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left, ….continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high: so that the very sight was as if heaven itself was come down to meet them.

Thus, therefore, they walked on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify… how welcome they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to meet them.