Finding 'peace'

When her son Mattie dies, Jeni Stepanek was left with an empty lap_ but also a cause, which she has come to share

April 04, 2006|By JOE BURRIS | JOE BURRIS,SUN REPORTER

Jeni Stepanek sat smiling in her wheelchair, as yet another person spoke of being touched by her late son, Mattie. This time, it was the celebrated poet Maya Angelou, and she used some of the same words as thousands before her, but in her distinctive voice - soothing and melodic, with just a touch of mother wit.

She detailed her friendship with the boy from Rockville who died from a rare form of muscular dystrophy on June 22, 2004, just shy of his 14th birthday, but still had managed to write six best-selling books that inspired millions.

Book tour Jeni Stepanek will speak at Borders bookstore, White Flint Mall, at 2 p.m. Saturday and at Borders, Annapolis mall, at 2 p.m. April 15.

Mattie's poem

The following poem is an excerpt from Mattie Stepanek's posthumously released book, Just Peace: A Message of Hope. It is titled "Heavenly Greeting."

Dear God,

For a long time,

I have wondered about

How You will meet me

When I die and come to

Live with You in Heaven.

I know You reach out

Your hand to welcome

Your people into Your home,

But I never knew if You

Reached out Your right hand,

Or if You

Reached out Your left hand.

But now I don't have to

Wonder about that anymore.

I asked my mommy and

She told me that You

Reached out both of Your hands,

And welcome us with

A great big giant hug.

Wow!

I can't wait for my hug, God.

Thank you,

And Amen.

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