We Always Knew Peter Was Special But ...

We knew Peter was special but really, until the funeral, we didn't understand the magnitude of what he meant to a legion of people. From people his age (40s and 50s) down through teen fans, from all around the world , people wept when they heard Peter had died.

Don't get me wrong, everytime Peter had a concert a troupe of family members lined the backstage of the concert. When he played anywhere in New York, New Jersey or PA, we were there and we witnessed the massive crowds, the excited fans, the fabulous and elaborate vampire costumes and the crazy fun happening in the MOSH PIT (remind me to tell you about the time when Pete's mom got caught in the mosh pit). But, really, it wasn't until we had large, heavily tattooed men sobbing on our shoulders at the wake that we realized, OMG -- he wasn't only ours --- the world was mouning too.

When hundreds of sobbing, tattooed, strong looking, long-haired men need Pete's sisters to hold them up and confort them as each man tells you a different story of how Pete's lyrics saved his life... or how Pete sang about all their own fears ... or how Pete said all the things they wished they could utter ... IT FREAKIN HITS YOU ... he really was special to the world the way he was special to us.

But when Pete's eldest sister, Barbara, calls and tells me, "Oh My God The Today Show Just Did Something On Pete," you sort of step back from your own sorrow and think ... "Wow, all those poor fans. They feel what we feel."

Pic: From Halloween - it's how we (and some friends) decorated his grave. Please don't rush online and try to find the cementary. Just enjoy the photo. Much appreciated


  1. Thank you to the Ratajczyk family for opening up to us, the fans. I understand that you needed time for your personal mourning. Peter was someone you grew up with, while the rest of us grew to know him through fleeting moments in person, on video, or through his music.

    Speaking as someone who never met him, I find it difficult to rationalize the strong emotions I feel listening to his music and watching clips of him after the news last year. Why would someone weep for a person they didn't even know? The answer is multi-faceted. His music, lyrics, humor, how he poured his heart out with complete disregard of what others thought, the way he interacted with fans, was never unkind to anyone, and so much more. The tragedy of many of the song's subjects he wrote speak louder than ever since he is no longer with us. I cry and mourn knowing Peter was more unique than anyone I've ever heard, that his gentle spirit is silenced, and we're left only with memories that echo from an era that we'll never see the like of again.

  2. Thanks Adam for posting. Yes, it took a while for us to be able to figure out that we wanted a blog or a FB account. It was hard to even consider sharing our private moments with everyone.

    But, during the year, we found that by talking about the loss to friends and bandmembers, and hearing what the dedicated fans said about Peter, we were able to heal ... just a little.

    But, it's really hard ...

  3. oh you guys are killing me here. these stories are wonderful and i thank you for sharing your memories. i also thank you for these tears that i cry. without this man in my life if only on the radio or tape cassette or cd, my life has changed listening to petes words. he never missed an emotion that any of us can not share. i didnt know how i was going to get thru this week, but reading your memories helps. thank you. much love and respect to the RATAJCZYK family. god bless.

  4. Mary,

    I'm glad you are enjoying these little tidbits that we've been holding in fearful that if we talk about it - it would do something bad to his legacy. Now, it's because of people like you that makes it easy for us to share, post pictures and know we are among friends.

    Thanks and please let others know about the page.

  5. THANK YOU for sharing and allowing us to be part of your healing process. You are a beautiful family that deserve only praise and love

    sending you strength and warm feelings

  6. Thank you Deb for this warm message. It helps. You won't believe how much this helps with the healing process

  7. Thank you for sharing. You are all in my thoughts and prayers and thank you for allowing me and so many others to express our gratitude and what peter brought to all of our lives. ...Sincerely Windy. :)

  8. You know it is amazing in this day and time, how close your family has been. If only all families could be so close. It is a treasure. A thing that is becoming lost in the fast pace of these times we live in. This blog is yet another testament of that love. Hold each other close in your hearts and lives. Thank you for this place where we can all come together and show our love for Pete. Always yours

  9. Windy -- keep expressing your feelings -- it's the way we keep him alive in our hearts.

  10. Although a lot of fans will probably post and say how much Peter changed their life, it's true. When the news broke about a year ago, I cried for about a week, and crying is not something I do easily. What I feel Peter taught me via his music was to always attack problems and shortcomings with humor
    Thanks again for sharing these memories and my condolences to your family of the loss that we all, in some form, share

  11. All these stories are soooo nice to read. I never met him but I grew up knowing who he and Type O Negative are/were. I remember being 6 years old asking my Mom to let me listen to Type O, which ended in a big fat no, haha.
    This is the first time I remember missing someone I never knew, I didn't know that was possible.

    Thank you for posting these wonderful stories, I feel like I knew him a little bit now :)

  12. Rob,

    Thank you for writing that you cried for a week. It's amazing to us to hear how Pete's humor helps you in life. We've been crying for a year now, but then, when you talk about his personality, you sort of have to chuckle a little.

  13. Hey EF - Thanks for posting about the stories. I hope you are getting a good laugh.

    Keep coming back

  14. The reads on this page make for smiles through sorrow and grief, my sister passed away in 1995 and was an avid fan of type-o-negative, after her passing I myself got more involved in listening to what she heard in Peters music, I quickly fell in love with the lyrics and the passion of Peters voice. I was a metalhead all my life and grew up in Eindhoven, Holland, where peter played a few times, DYNAMO OPEN AIR to be a great freaking show!

    I live in Brooklyn since 2002 and always wondered if I would bump in to Peter, maybe at Duffs?..it never happened.

    I hope he has his peace, and maybe even play a song for my sister, because I know she will be looking for him, where they may be.

    I wish the Ratajczyk family much strength and love.


  15. I loved his music,i so glad i saw him in concert twice, 4yrs ago, i just lost my mom in oct, and my brother 3yrs ago, and my dad in 2000, it is just me now from that family unit, so hold on to each other and the memories, pam

  16. With regards to the family grave photo;It was nice to see it decorated for Haloween.Many of the fans know where it is and have known for 11 plus months.Some don't believe that Pete is there.Some are too far away to visit any way but in their thoughts.Most do not visit out of respect for the wishes of the family.How does the family feel about fans visiting now?Every good wish to you all.I personally have found this experience helpful.I consider you my family.

  17. He did matter to so many people, in so many ways. He was a very special person, through his music we could feel it. Thanks again for sharing such a personal part of your lives with him. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting the pic of his grave. I love the green arms, he'd have chuckled at that.

  18. My heart will always ache for him. Petar saved my life all those years ago and gave to me a gift I can never repay...thank you for sharing him with us!! NeNe

  19. I'm not by any means an old fan.. i only found out about Peter and Type O Negative 3 days ago after asking a facebook friend who the hottie was as her picture. Well.. i've spent the weekend now watching so many video's on youtube and listening to tracks i have found online.
    I may not have known his music while he lived and i sure wish i had have.
    Yesterday morning i even found myself writing some lyrics/prose. I normally write from the heart as well but the voice in my head at the time was not my own.
    A simple man
    with simple needs
    someone to love and hold him,
    Betrayed by those
    close to hand
    tortured soul
    twisted mind,
    Fought so hard
    to get the message heard
    To see the right
    inside the wrong,
    You try to understand.

    Thankyou Peter for being you
    And thankyou to his family and other fans for sharing the memories.

  20. My deepest admiration to the family thank you for letting us see inside the life of Peter and family. I have went over the post and laughed and cried. I didn't even know who Peter Steele was until later in life, which I'm not unusual. Fans of TON never are we come to his music I think when we are ready. I never seen in live or met him but the music saved my life. He was a very special person here on this Earth and he is truely missed.

    A couple years back I was on my way to the hospital to find out the sex of my 1st grandchild. I was listening to 'September Sun' thinking how I would love to have a grandson with beautiful green eyes. His name is Draven and he has beautiful green eyes and loves to listen to Type O Negative with me, his grandmother. The legend will never die.

  21. Dear Ratajczyk family,
    Thank you does not really capture the feeling, but I hope you'll get the idea. Words can not discribe how greatfull I am to have seen Pete play in The Netherlands. We locked eyes for a split second and my life has never been the same. From the day I saw him, I could feel he was special. I could only imagine what it must be like for the family to loose somebody like him.
    His music has become a big important part of my life. And his voice is something I need to hear, just to make my day a little bit more bareble.

    Thank you for sharing his familylife...
    x Karin

  22. I shared a couple of poems with Cathy recently, I'd like to share with you all again because it expresses how Peter was and still is..a Star, one we will never forget:

    ...and when he shall die,
    Take him and cut him out in little stars,
    And we will make the face of heaven so fine
    That all the world will be in love with night,
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.
    - William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)

    O Star , the fairest one in sight
    Say something to us we can learn
    By heart and when alone repeat
    Say something! And it says “I burn”
    - Robert Frost (Choose Something Like a Star)
    Rose R from Canoga park, CA

  23. Seeing this grave site just hit me hard. I've been trying so hard not to face his death. I really still do not believe that he's dead and keep hoping it's all a joke and that any day now he will pop back up and laugh. But seeing his tombstone kind of makes it real...something that I have to face. I guess that everyone dies.

  24. Thank you Ratajczyk family for giving me the opportunity to mourn with you and remember Peter fondly. I never met him nor went to any of the concerts, I just heard of the group in 2007.;). I miss his voice and presence in this world.There is so much I could express, but suffice it to say, Thank you for giving us this opportunity. I am truly grateful to you always. Much Love, Charlene Viera