Guest column – Tim Rau ‘taught us about living well with few complaints’ |

Guest column – Tim Rau ‘taught us about living well with few complaints’

We, Charlie and Diana Lynn Rau, wish to say a heartfelt thank you to our tremendous community and families and beyond for the incredible outpouring of support, love and sympathy over the loss of our only child, Tim, but the words just don’t seem enough.

The hole in our hearts is huge, but your prayers have made it easier to bear. The flowers, the food, the memorial donations, the hugs, the tears, the calls, the e-mails, the offers for lodging and transportation, the stories in the papers, the stories and pictures shared by classmates and friends young and old are amazing. And they continue.

Thank you to the close friends who spent days on end watching over us and helping us keep our lives somewhat together. Thank you to Tim’s classmates and friends who organized the deeply moving Candlelight Vigil at the YMCA and to the hundreds of friends who came and remembered Tim with their stories as the full moon rose right behind the Chapel cross. Thanks to all who collected and poured through pictures and Tim’s music to produce a treasured slide show of Tim’s life. Thank you to his dear buddies who offered to walk with or carry Tim one last time. Thank you to the friends and family who helped us organize the Celebration of Tim’s Life and who shared their stories of Tim’s many adventures.

Thank you for all the generous contributions to the Tim Rau Memorial Fund, which continue to pour in. These contributions will be used to help children and their families who are afflicted with disease and will create simple remembrances like a memorial bench overlooking the YMCA meadow on the Fraser to Granby Trail or a horse shelter at the NSCD Therapeutic Riding Center or others yet to be decided. We will update his website with more pictures and stories as we get them.

Tim had just turned 17 when he lost his life on Independence Day rowing his own raft in the powerful rapids of the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon. He had a wonderful school life in Grand County with incredible support from staff and classmates.

His friends had just paddled with him on the Junior River Trip I and pulled his wheelchair across every beach on the Spanish Class trip to Costa Rica. You couldn’t say no to Tim – he wanted to try everything. He attacked all he did with gusto. He sought out the underdog and was a friend to all. He wanted to live life to the fullest and experience all life had to offer. And we encouraged him because we knew his disease (Ataxia Telangiectasia ) would take him from us sooner than normal – his future was uncertain. In the face of his tremors and the lack of balance that put him in a wheelchair, Tim just wanted to be a normal kid. He was famous for his infectious grin and his positive attitude. Whether in his wheelchair doing wheelies or on his red scooter running over the toes of classmates or in archery classes tenderly helping a six-year-old nock an arrow, Tim always inspired everyone he touched. He taught us all about living well with few complaints. We greatly appreciate the support of parents everywhere for the encouragement and opportunities given Tim to keep him strong in spite of the hardships he faced. Everyone here helped make Tim who he was. We hope everyone can remember his example and live full lives and live well. We hope parents can patiently encourage their kids to try.

To paraphrase Max Lucado, a Christian minister:

It is right for us to weep,

But there is no need for us to despair.

He had pain here

He has no pain there.

He struggled here

He has no struggles there.

You and I might wonder why God took him home.

But Tim doesn’t.

What we must remember is that Tim went out doing something he loved. And he went out with a bang. That was Tim’s way. We all love you Tim, and you will be sorely missed.

– The family of Tim Rau is asking that people send them photos and stories about Tim, “no matter how small they are.” To share, mail them to PO Box 757, Fraser, CO 80442 or e-mail