Just Never Knew When I'd See Pete Again

The last time I saw Pete, it was Dec 2009 at our sister Nancy’s wake in Staten Island.  Pete had come in from Pa with a friend, who I thanked for making the long drive, and was later joined at the funeral home by the band members.

Pete looked different from when I saw him backstage at the recent October concert … at 6’8” and now with a full beard and some extra weight, I called him “Paul Bunyan”.  (If you’ve seen the pix from the LTAN interview in Pete’s Pennsylvania basement, then you know what I mean.)  He laughed and tried to get me in a headlock to “noogie” my forehead.  We spoke briefly, but all of us siblings were busy talking to visitors and mourners, but everyone took turns spending some time with Pete.

Later, when I went to talk with him some more, I couldn’t find him.  I don’t know why, but I became frantic, searching all the viewing rooms and the outside of the funeral home, asking everyone if they knew where he was.  I even had my cousin check the restroom. Then I spied him in the parking lot, walking towards a car for the ride home.  I called to him & hurriedly ran to hug him tight.

Pete said, “Hey, what’s up, what’s the matter”.

I said, “I just never know when I’m going to see you again, Pete.”  He gave me an odd look, rolled his eyes back in his head and got into the car.  “Sometimes it’s so long in between.  Love ya; take care”.   I waved goodbye as they drove away.

We spoke every week or so for the next four months --  up until April 10 -- just like always with him calling me some of the time and me checking in with him.  But when I got the call four days later that curtly announced, “Yeah, Pete was throwing up for three days, and then he died”, I finally understood my anxiety-filled frantic search to see & hug him one last time.

I just wanted to say that I will miss you forever, Pete -- Everyday you are in my mind and heart --  xx Pat


I'm sure you have seen this video of the "Making of September Sun." I like it this one ... enjoy


  1. I wish I could find words of consolation, but I can not find ...
    I can only sent you a virtuel hug, and I think often to you and yours.

  2. I came across this about a month ago. September Sun is one of my favorite songs.

  3. Thank you for the story, I look forward to these daily. Its nice to hear about him from another perspective. I think we have all asked ourselves, why didnt he go to the hospital? Could he have been saved? They say things happen for a reason....I dunno, this one, seems it was to make thousands of people mourn a wonderful, talented and warm hearted man. I think about him every day, as im sure you do to.

  4. Couldn't read this without crying.

  5. your account of the last time you hugged your brother brought tears to my eyes Pat. Life is indeed too short an too darn unexpected... we can never know if the next time we hold, kiss or say something special to a loved one will be the last. I am sure Peter knew how precious and cherished he was by his whole family. I also hope the love and memories you shared with your dear brother all his life helps to ease the sadness in your heart. My thoughts are with you and yours Pat. thank you for sharing.

  6. Good you got a last hug but... :*(

  7. I can't tell you how much I look forward to these posts. I never knew the man, but like a lot of people he somehow managed to touch me all the same. Blessings to the the Ratajczyk Family. Does anyone know where to find the interview Pete did in his PA home?

  8. Pat – have a heartfelt hug – this has brought tears (of sorrow and laughter) to my eyes – tears of laughter because of calling Pete ‘Paul Bunyan’ (saw the pic – know what you mean) and tears of sorrow because of losing your brother in a way … well I still don’t seem to find the right words – just such a cruel timing, completely unexpected and so unfair after he struggled so hard – I know that shit happens everyday as Josh stated also in the MetalSucks Interview but still it’s hard to cope with it.
    In some situations we seem to have a kind of foreboding which this memory proves completely. It’s good to know that you could tell him Goodbye and had a hug. Even if I never knew Pete personally (unfortunately) it is just the same way as you said: Each day Pete is also in my mind and my heart! Each day I have to hear at least one song of TON – most of the times I end up listening to the complete album :) because I just can’t stop listening to this unique voice and music. I know it’s not the same as it is for you – but I just want to point out again: You are not alone with that grief and a legion of fans will never forget Pete & we will keep his spirit alive! I hope so much that it helps at least a little bit to know that.
    Much love & all the best to you & thx for sharing.
    -Sabine, Austria-
    P.S. I love that picture!

  9. I wish there was something different i could say, but there are no words that i could speak that would help console your hearts for the loss of peter that has not already been said by myself and so many others. I will continue to support the Ratajczyk family in keeping peter's memory alive anyway i can. This story really hit me harder than the others, my heart is twisted in one big knot.... Especially when i read the part about The last Hug....waving goodbye as they drove away. Very emotional story thank you for sharing.

  10. this is soooo sad...i had to come check on the blog...i feel for your family.im very sorry for your pain. -erik hernandez-

  11. Big Hugs to you Pat, I too will continue to support the Ratajczyk family in keeping Peter's memory alive ALWAYS in anyway that I can. This story The last Hug....waving goodbye as they drove away..... Very emotional story, but then most of them are touching/emotional thank you for sharing and may God Bless
    Sabine N Windy...lovely heartfelt words, thank you too :)

    Amy Wigle, Newark, Ohio

  12. Hi Pat--

    Thanks for sharing this account of the last time you saw Peter. I'm sure it's not easy sharing stories like this, but know that you aren't alone in your grief. I, unfortunately (like many others, it seems), never had a chance to meet Peter. When I read this it was like somebody hit me in the gut. People keep telling me, too, that things happen for a reason, but I keep asking WHY? And I don't know why, but your remark about the 'curt phone call' and the way his death was announced to you bother me. WAS this person a friend, and did did they really have Peter's best interest at heart? If so, why didn't they take him to the hospital? I don't mean to step on any toes because I don't know who the person is who made the phone call, but it still doesn't sit well with me. Thanks again for sharing; I look forward to this every day. I'm sending you love and a virtual hug. :)
    Patty P

  13. I just wanna say thank you for sharing this. I had never the honour and probable pleasure to meet your brother but, his music touched my soul. Though, I will forever mourn his way too early departure and with it the, of this I am sure, great loss of genius music he would have prepared for the world. Some guy called Frank from Germany in deepest sympathy

  14. deborah fischer3:44 PM, May 26, 2011

    Dear Pat,

    This brougth tears to my eyes. It makes me so sad for you and your family that you had to go through so much. I'm sure Pete felt your love even when you didn't get a chance to be near him.

    Please accept my deepest sympathy and the warmest hugs

  15. This makes my heart hurt... Much love to the Ratajczyk family xo

  16. You are a beautiful family, Peter was lucky to have you in his life, it is beautiful to read what you write every day, I like the way you talk to him, the good person he was, I am close to your pain, huge embrace. thanks for sharing all this. love.

    Silvia. from Italy.

  17. This breaks my heart, so I can only imagine what you and the rest of his family feel. That frantic feeling you had of wanting to see and talk with him before he left, like you subconsciously knew it may be for the last time. I'm glad that you got the chance to see and hug him...

  18. I'm generally a fairly stoic woman, but this one actually made me fail to fight back the tears & fall to pieces. Thank you, Pat, this must've been excruciatingly difficult to write and share with us. You're a staggeringly strong person, and I am so, so sincerely sorry to read that you were curtly informed of your dearly loved brother's demise.

    I too have questions about the environment Pete was in in PA, and like many fans, wish just one family member, friend, fan, girlfriend, squeeze for the night, obsessed stalker, groupie or kindhearted stranger had been there to help him, because any of those people would've done so. He'd have received proper medical attention within a less than day of first symptoms, when it became apparent it wasn't just some bug.

    It must've seemed like just another of the hundreds of 'Saying Goodbye to Pete' moments at the wake considering how often Type O went on the road. The title 'Just Never Knew When I'd See Pete Again' is poignantly appropriate. It must've been hard saying goodbye that many times.

    Gotta admit, even in his 'Paul Bunyon' phase :) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICs5rtRcZc8 1:38), I still see Pete as absolutely fascinatingly beautiful. It's been mentioned that some of the photos of him posted online were unflattering, sometimes showing him in phases that were not healthy. Perhaps they were posted out of jealousy, none of us knows, but I prefer to believe they were posted by people who wanted the world to know that Pete didn't have to look like a centerfold forever for his fans to absolutely love and adore him for life. I know our adoration never meant as much as the love of family. That's as it should be, but we did care about him very much. The lengths I saw people go to in order to let him know that were unbelievable.

    If there'd been just one of us, any of us there... trust me, kicking & screaming or not, he'd've gotten to the doc!

    With gratitude,
    Jeanne B

  19. This story is the hardest to read, it brings tears to my eyes. Pat thank you so much for sharing such a personal story with us.Thank god you listened to your intuition and got to have a last hug. What a special moment but it must make you happy and sad at the same time. I don't want to upset the family but I keep thinking if Peter was living in Brooklyn around real friends and family he might have gone to the doctors and still be with us. I have read the people around him in Pennsylvania were not good people to be around. I know life is full of "what ifs" and we will drive ourselves crazy thinking if only.. I do believe things happen the way they are meant to but Peters death really tested my beliefs. I also believe on a sub-conscious level Peter knew he was going to die young and that's why he talked about dying a lot.
    On a Lighter note, Peter was such a beautiful man he looked gorgeous cleanly shaven or with a full beard.



    Is their a sense in saying
    YOU must
    HUG that we think we were
    YOU must
    KISS as sweet as
    KISS as torried as can
    be…to show the sisterly intimacy just like NO
    suddely there are tears in
    the eyes that
    and NEVER came the
    where is the essence of
    there is no GOOD in
    why should we have to
    utter that
    if he will never
    come back
    when you can never
    kiss his cheek….
    never can
    never can feel the
    warmth OF HIS

    1. Such a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Pat I am so sorry that you got the news in such a cold way. There's no good way to break such awful news, but that phone call just sounds horrible. I'm really glad you did get that last hug and goodbye. I remember the last time I saw your brother, something told me to get a photo with him and tell him thank you. He was sitting at a meet and greet table signing things and I said can I just get a quick photo with you? He said sure and as I put my arm around him he said security! He made me laugh the first time we met and the last. It didn't seem so very important at that moment, because I always left TON shows thinking "I'll see him next time" But now I look at that photo and am so grateful for that last exchange. My heart goes out to you and the whole family. He was a wonderful HUMAN.

  22. cinnamongirl13132:02 AM, May 27, 2011

    I cry everyday. everyday for this man I never knew. but did actually. especially after reading this. I thank Darcie and every member of his family over and over for this blog. Thank you for this post. I am so thankful you found him in the parking lot for that last hug. .. that last wave. What a wonderful thing to hold on to. Love always

  23. @dunebuggy4 aka Jeanne B: Thx for this post - I completely agree with you.
    @Anonymous: I didn't find the interview so far (I think the DVD should be released in 2011 from what I have read) but here are two links:

  24. As a long time friendly fan..no more,no less..I have a memory of Pete throwing open his arms to give me a big hug the last time I spoke with him. I'd been through a rough time in my life and hadn't been hugged in a couple of years...Pete's magic was to be a friend to his fans,as many as he could. And so I morn a friend, and thank family for sharing with us.

  25. I like how he rolled his eyes at you like "Silly, like I'm going anywhere." We have to find humor in all situations. It seemed to be his policy. He was, like many said a great human. Much love. xx

  26. Somehow I am stuck on this entry ... what a sad and hard time you were and still are going through with loosing your sister and your brother in such a short period of time - such a strong and beautiful family - it's heartbreaking. My deepest respect for what you are doing & much love for the whole family.
    -Sabine, Austria-

  27. I don't really have words for this. It makes my heart heavy. I'm so sorry :(