EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s hard to publish obituaries, but even harder to write and post one about a sibling. This one was incredibly difficult, and was written through tears…
Sadly, my sister Patricia (Patti) Schaefer Newman, 66, of Seattle, passed away from a brain tumor on Jan. 16, 2024.
I was lucky enough to have Patti as one of my three sisters. She was a lovely, lively, fun and funny soul who is deeply missed by her surviving family and friends.
Patti was my next oldest sis, and she had a big influence on me. She is the first of my siblings to pass away, and it’s been a very difficult process, full of shock, denial, anger, guilt and deep sadness that comes in waves. As I type this, my eyes are watering and my aching brain swarms with great memories of her, at home, schools, Cannon Beach, John’s Island in the San Juans, family events, holidays, birthdays, seeing her kids grow, being a godfather to one and so much more.
As the family archivist, somehow I ended up with many family photo albums, slides, home movies and more (our Dad was prolific at taking home movies), all with the intention of digitizing them so they could be shared with family. Sadly, that process is only now just beginning, and I feel guilty that Patti won’t be able to relive those memories. I wish I could go back in time to see her one last time, show her some cool old home movies of us as kids, laugh and share memories and inside jokes that only a sibling could know, and tell her one last time how much I love her.
But alas, Patti is gone. She left way too early, and I am sad. So flippin’ sad. Her passing has created a void in my heart and soul, and has rippled into other parts of my life, affecting my attention, shortening my temper trigger, giving me brain fog, and always with an ever-present sense of loss as I look at photos of her. The photos of course seem to have a power over me that is uncontrollable, and that’s when the tears start…
Last February, Patti came up to Seattle from her Tucson home and most of our family got together to celebrate her birthday. She seemed happy and healthy at that gathering, which makes her recent passing even harder to accept.
Near the end of her life, she was in discomfort and confusion due to having the same type of brain tumor I had successfully removed in 1996. She is now in a better place.
I am lucky she was a sister, and may she Rest In Peace with Mom, Dad, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, passed cousins, friends and even our wonderful family pets that she loved so much (be sure to give Christy a pat).
Here’s what I wrote about her passing on my Facebook page:
“My beautiful and beloved sister, Patricia Schaefer, broke my heart this week by passing away after a battle with a brain tumor (the same type I had removed in 1996). Words cannot express the heartache I feel, but the memories we made will forever bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. You were a force of nature Patti, quick with a mischievous smile and full of fun (most likely why all my friends had crushes on you!), and your absence leaves a void that nothing can fill. Love you always and forever, your only brother.”
Here’s an obit that was posted to Facebook:
“Patricia (Patti) Schaefer Newman, 66, of Seattle, WA, died of a brain tumor on 1/16/24.
“She was born in Seattle in 1957 to Marilyn and Bob Schaefer.
“Patti attended Central Washington University, earning her degree in teaching.
“Patti had many jobs, but most will remember her for her creative passions, such as baking and weaving.
“Patti leaves behind her children, Maclean and Lilli. She is survived by her siblings Diana, Scott, and Judy.”
POSTSCRIPT: Thanks to all who have shared kind words and acts of sympathy and support to me and my family during this difficult time. Your love has helped us all tremendously!