She was a vibrant, loud, stubborn, occasionally obnoxious, woman. She had the internal strength of a Nordic god and the heart of a lion. She could comfort you like a safe, old blanket and bark at you like a Master Sargent. There was nothing to do with her except love her.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) took her from this world last Thursday.
There is a hole in my soul where Kathy Lingenfelter lived. There is a hole in my heart and my brain.
My memories stay. They feel hollow until I begin to unwind them and feel what I felt then: the panic of getting her out of a building that was setting off her asthma. It was being remodel on the floor above us and the dust and detritus came roiling into our offices. She kept trying to yell for the manager but she couldn’t get enough air. I pulled her down two flights of stairs to get her outside. We laughed later about the two stubborn women.
One night she was trying to make dinner and I was trying to take her picture. That was one of her least favorite things. I was doing my best to bug her. She had to shove me out of the kitchen! We laughed about the two stubborn women.
She stole my credit cards and hid them to teach me about good business practices. She was my bookkeeper. I was mad for awhile. So was she. We laughed about two stubborn women.
ALS took her speech first. Her ability to swallow next. The decline took her from me. When she would get frustrated and angry about her condition she would ram her electric wheelchair into a metal trashcan.
I can laugh about that stubborn woman. I can see her. I can smell her.
She went into the last phase of ALS last Monday. On Thursday morning she left this earth.
She requested one thing. That I support ALS research. The local chapter of the ALS Association created a link for donations. I put it here.
If you can, if you know someone with ALS, if you are moved by this stubborn wonderful woman, if the idea of a disease that slowly kills the brain repulses you, please give.