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Jason Rautenberg June 11, 1973 – January 12, 2022.

Thank you for being here today.

The word of my brother’s passing landed pretty heavy on me on January 12th, 2022. My brother, Jason, 48 years old, is gone. Here’s what I know for sure. He didn’t stand at the gates to heaven, patiently waiting. He rang the doorbell, then burst through the door and, with his booming voice, said “I’m HOME!” 

In case you don’t know, this is how every Rautenberg entered our family home, or least we used to. Jason never stopped. I still to this day enter my own home and say “Hello!” or “I’m home” in a sing-song voice. Of course, we know you’re home, we can hear you coming up the stairs, we were expecting you.

And so was He, probably holding a cup of coffee and a donut as he greeted Jason at the pearly gates.

Jason led a life I wish we could all live: Heart-centred and pulled forward by pure joy. Imagine being present in every situation you’re in. That was Jason. He didn’t even know he had that special gift, it was just him, always showing up as himself.

Let me tell you a little about Jason.

He had a love of wheels. Put him in a car and he’d tell you where to go, how to get there, if a red light was coming up, when it was green and you could go, when to punch it and go really fast, or when to slow down and be cautious. Car rides were his favorite thing. Tricycles, go-karts, hot wheels, and trains were a daily source of entertainment, and his love of wheels never faltered. Gee, Dad, I wonder where he got that from. In fact, the whole family has wheels in our blood. Maybe Jason’s gift for needing to keep up with his siblings gave him his relentless desire to drive head first into life.

His laugh was infectious. If you had the pleasure of laughing with him, an absolutely gut-busting sound would vibrate through your whole body. He was the reason our family laughed, maybe even to our detriment. If one of us got hurt, you can bet we’d be laughing, because we knew a secret: “Things could be a whole lot worse.”

Jason loved Disney movies. They were a source of joy and laughter. He understood the hilarity of cartoons, and he really got the funny bits that were often lost on adults. Of course, he grew to love all the grown-up things too, like coffee, food and maybe a donut or two. Many will know that Tim Hortons was one of his favorite places. Going there was like a field trip every time. He would already know what he wanted and would be pulling out his wallet, shushing you if you tried to pay, fiercely independent in the routine he knew so well.

A particular team of people needs to be mentioned here. Christian Horizons is the care home Jason was with from the very beginning. These amazing people played a critical role in normalizing Jason’s life, keeping the routine he loved so much, showing him new things, and giving him experiences every boy should have. They’ve been instrumental in caring for my brother and I’m at a loss for words to express my family’s immense gratitude for their care. When he came home to visit, for dinner, a birthday, or a holiday, as soon as we were done eating, he wanted to go home! Home, where routine was familiar, where he lived, with people who cared for him as family.

Our childhood was anything but normal. Before we had words to describe Jason’s focus, attention to details and direction, and his full-blown hot temper coupled with pure joy, we were forging our own unique path as a family. Read more about my brother, the oldest of 6 people with his unique genetic makeup.

A special note to my parents.

You have taught us how to be resilient in the face of the unknown, of how to know what NOT to expect and just roll with what is placed in front of us. You built a community around our family that extended the boundaries of what family is, and that is something each of us carries forward in our lives today. Jason led us by folding in his team at Christian Horizons as his family. And you created a space where best friends were aunts and uncles and Mr and Mrs were family who would care for us whenever you needed them.

You instilled this superpower in each of us. To this day, my community of support looks a lot like that community you nurtured when we were growing up. I’m pretty sure our spouses had no idea what they were signing up for when they all said I do. In your fifty-one years of marriage, you have shown the world how to live one day at a time, take everything in stride and, when in doubt, just sit down and drink coffee.

My brother left us the day before my 41st birthday.

I believe this was a message from him telling me that I now have his special gift and I better use it to the best of my human ability. Oh, to see the world through his eyes, just one more time. But I think we can.

Today I invite you all to turn on your joy-o-meter, give your brain a break and let your heart pull you forward. That’s what Jason would have done and he was a shining example of how to live.

So, here’s to my brother, gone too soon. We know you’re home, happy, safe in the arms of the one who chose us to be your earthly family. We love you and miss you deeply. But don’t worry, we’ll be okay because you left each of us with special superpowers just like yours.




Sara Ward

Sara Ward

Step into my world, where the momentum of our combined energies makes healing contagious.



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