The day is Saturday, September 15, 2007. The place: Chugiak, Alaska. Five years earlier, when Romeo was 13, his vet declared him to be terminally ill, with no more than four days left to live. This was an absolute diagnosis. There was to be no hope, whatsoever, but Romeo had a job to do, so he stuck around and did it.
Although without his legs, Latseen is now strong and fit. Diane has been brought through the darkest days of her life and now has new tasks that she must accomplish.
Sweet Romeo - free to take his leave.
Pallbearer Tony Vita leads the funeral procession into the woods behind Diane's house. From my observations, Tony is a rock for Diane; he is a rock for his stepson, Latseen. As he loves the woman, so too did he love her cat.
Rose Albert, good friend and exceptionally close sister to the late Howard Albert, the man who took Diane and three-year-old Latseen over the frozen Yukon River on the boy's first dog-mushing trip. In 1982, Rose became the first Alaska Native woman to run the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, 1300 miles from Anchorage to Nome. Rose is Athabascan, raised in the Yukon River village of Ruby.
She is also painter of fine art - in my opinion, as fine as is being produced by any artist living in Alaska.
Richard Gulbraa, Diane's brother, shares a memory of Romeo. All present share their memories.
Diane holds the toy mouse that was Romeo's favorite possession and speaks of how he liked to play with it. (Please remember, if you click on these tiny images, they will enlarge so that you can better see what they actually look like.)
Romeo takes his place in the earth.
Tony and Dennis, a brother to Diane, give their flowers to Romeo.
Sad? Yes, but think what Romeo did! The vet told him he couldn't do it, but he did it, anyway. That's something to be happy about.
Eighteen years - short, but still a good long life for a cat.