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Kathryn J. Langstraat

I turned 32 on Saturday, February 11th and was planning on spending a long weekend in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument since I had permits to Coyote Buttes North and South. However, last Friday morning my mom had a heart attack when she arrived at work and was rushed to Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.

Since I was in Page, Arizona, I drove down to Flagstaff and got on a flight back to Chicago so that I could be with my mom and my family.

Unfortunately, her brain was without oxygen for too long and she never recovered from the heart attack. She was put on a ventilator until Tuesday afternoon at 3pm when she was taken off of it. The neurologist didn’t expect her to survive more than a few minutes off of the machine, but she was strong and lasted for another 14 hours on her own. Her breathing was very fast and heavy at first, but slowed down throughout the night until she peacefully passed away around 6am on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012. My dad, sister and I were by her side all night until the end. She loved Valentine’s Day so I think it’s fitting she held on until the next day.

I really hope she knew how much I loved her, even though I never said it much.

Here’s a photo of my mom and me dancing at my wedding in 2005.

stilldancing2.jpg

I am currently still in Chicago for the wake and funeral this week. Then I will be driving back to Grand Junction. When I get back I will definitely need to get back into the desert.

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