November 7, 2006, William Peter Blatty's son, Peter Vincent Galahad Blatty,
passed away. A tribute to Peter's life has since been made available online
This page has been
created in order to archive some of the words that have been expressed in
regards to Peter, in case the online memorial is ever taken down, removed,
or tragically lost entirely.
"Sir Galahad, the son of Sir Lancelot, is the Knight who found the
Of all the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Galahad possessed
the strength of
ten men. Yet he was a gentle Knight, bringing Christianity
to the Britons."
"There were never any halfway measures with Pete. Fiercely loyal and
fiercely faithful, his love burned brightly and intensely like the love of
angels, massed before God."
- William Peter Blatty
"My big-hearted, magnificent son, you stole every heart
you ever touched. What a privilege that God chose me to be your dad!"
- William Peter Blatty
A Father Remembers:
When Peter was born, I did something remarkably out of character. All my
children had the names of saints: Michael Peter, William Peter, Christine
Ann, Mary Joanne, Jennifer Ann. But with Peter, I found myself strangely
overcome by a compulsion to give him an added middle name. A very specific
one. Galahad. Whose "strength was as the strength of ten", because his
heart was pure. I told Julie, Pete's Mom," I don't know, I've just got
this feeling that's what he's going to turn out to be". And so he did.
It's the rare individual who on first meeting Pete, that imposing young
man with the quick, warm smile, didn’t sense that he was somehow in the
presence of an extraordinary human being. There were never any halfway
measures with Peter. Fiercely loyal and fiercely faithful, his love burned
brightly and intensely like the love of angels massed before God. For many
years he thought everyone was built that way, and so it was easy to break
his heart. But like his other namesake, Pete would have cut off the High
Priest's servant's ear without a moment of hesitation. He was incredibly
brave, and kind. I couldn't drive past a beggar on a median strip without
Peter pleading that I give the man money. "We'll hold up traffic, son.
Can't do it." "Come on Dad, PLEASE!"
And did I say brave? A former Heights classmate of
Peter's came by with a very young dogwood tree this week. He wanted to
plant it in our yard in memory of Peter. "In gratitude," he said. He then
told me a story of when he and Peter were both 15. The friend had
challenged a boy from another school to a fight. They met in a field,
surrounded by about 80 boys from both schools. They fought and Peter's
friend won the bout. But the vanquished boy threatened he'd fetch a cousin
who would then beat the friend to a pulp. Peter's friend said, "Fine.
Bring him on. Bring an army." What showed up was almost worse: a hulking,
muscular 26-year-old ex-convict who had just been released from prison.
Within minutes, Peter's friend was on the ground, taking blow after blow
to the face and head, and recognizing that he was in danger of serious
injury he shouted,” Stop! Stop! I give!” But the man didn’t stop. Among
those 80 watching the fight were two hulking football players. But they
didn’t intervene. No one moved. Except Peter. He slipped out of the crowd,
walked up to the convict, who was flailing away, and said commandingly,
“Didn’t you hear him say stop? He said stop! So now do it!” And in an
almost mysterious, otherworldly moment, the hulking ex-con looked up at
Peter with a numb and bewildered look on his face…and then got up without
a word and walked away. On the day he brought the tree to our house for
planting, Peter’s friend said he’d chosen a species of dogwood called,
“Cherokee Brave”. Youthful idealism sometimes prompts a boy to utter, “Oh,
I’d give up my life for him or her.” What made Peter unique was that if he
ever said such a thing you knew that Peter would actually do it.
Julie Blatty kept a diary of unusual statements that
Peter had made from earliest childhood, and I think that recounting one or
two of them now would give you a fuller, though sometimes haunting and
mysterious, picture of Peter. At age 3 he once asked me, “Dad, how do you
learn?” I said, “Well, most people learn from experience or principle, and
I guess I learn from both.” Pete said, “That’s not how I learn I learn
from the sky. God teaches me.” At the same age the diary records that one
day, while his baby brother Paul was being dressed, Peter turned away from
looking out a window at the ocean and said, “Mom, do you know why I came
here?” His Mother said, “No, son, why?” His answer was, “I came here to
help people". As to Peter’s spirituality, which was deeper than the heart
of the world, the diary reveals quite an interesting range. When he was
six he told his Mother that while he believed everything written in the
Bible, he said, and I quote, “ But Mom…I just can’t get behind a talking
snake!” But now jump ahead to a diary entry made in this final year of his
earthly life: “Oh, Mom…if I had lived in the time of Christ and had been
able to see Him and hear Him, I just know I couldn’t have resisted Him!”
I could go on: Peter’s former Heights classmates
gathered and talked about him from 8:00 p.m. until four in the morning
last week, and one of them told me they still hadn’t run out of stories of
“ wonderful Pete.”
So here’s just one more glimpse into Peter’s breathtakingly beautiful
soul. He was 5 years old when he said to his Mother, and this, like the
other diary quotes is word for word what he said: “Mommy, when God was
making me, I was a little bit scared and a little bit sad…until I saw
you.” When Peter was two, his Mother was watching him as he packed a
little child’s tin lunchbox. “I’m a little star boy,” he said, and that he
was packing his suitcase for a trip. “Where are you going?” Julie asked
him. Peter answered, “I’m going to a star.”
And now too soon, he has made that journey. Like those
memorable comets that now and then flash across the night sky with a
sudden and beautiful blazing brilliance and then all too quickly fade from
our sight, our beloved little star boy has gone home.
A Mother Remembers:
Peter's last year was one of tremendous suffering. Through it all,
however, he never lost his faith in the God he loved so much. Friday,
November 3rd, he went to confession and Mass with me. He spent his weekend
saying, "Look on the bright side mom... I'm good with God!" He called all
his closest friends and shared his good news. It was the last thing he
said to many of them. Early in the morning of November 7th, our tender and
merciful Lord called Peter home. He passed peacefully in his sleep. Our
pain is excruciating and our human natures tremble, but there is deep
peace within our souls, because we know our beloved child is finally, and
forever, at peace.
The official cause of death was Myocarditis. It is a rare condition, often
triggered by a viral illness, in which a person's own immune system
attacks their heart.