Bonfire was the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most generous soul I have ever known.
When my mother died, she wanted to get rid of Dad’s stuff. She said it was too painful to keep because it reminded her of him and her loss.
But I think it’s the other way around. It’s the absence of all that stuff that makes his absence all the more real.
Bonfire was the best cat we ever had. Nothing much fazed him. Big dogs, little dogs, all kinds of people. He took it all in stride. He had more self-confidence than I’ll ever have.
I remember the first time he met Maddie. She came with her foster humom for a look-see to determine if we would be a good home for her. Bonfire fell in love with her the moment he laid eyes on her. He followed her around as she investigated our house. He wanted to be close to her.
Bonfire had absolute faith in Bernd and me. He trusted us with a trust that was intimidating and extremely humbling. We could do anything with him and he never worried or complained.
Maybe that trust gave him confidence or maybe he came by it naturally. But I think that he figured Maddie must be fine if we’d let her into our house.
Maddie gave him joy. I think he was happier for having Maddie in his life. I’m happy that we could do that for him but sad that they had such a short time together.
We got Bonfire as a second-hand, maybe third-hand cat. The woman who no longer wanted him had no idea of his history or his age. I brought him home on November 26, 2012. Maddie came to live with us on December 30, 2017. Bonfire died on August 28, 2020.
He wasn’t with us nearly long enough. Not even close.
I spent the rest of the day, after we got home from the vet, laundering the bed sheets because they smelled like a sick cat. We cleaned out the coat closet in the utility room that was his private toilet. I put away his toys.
I made the bed.
He’d been so ill and weak that he spent almost all his time on our bed. So I never made it. I put extra pillows on the bed to make a “fort” for him. He would lie in various positions, trying to find some comfort for his bony little body or a place to rest his head so he didn’t have to hold it up while keeping an eye on me and Bernd and Maddie.
I hadn’t actually made the bed in a couple of months. I got used to glancing into the bedroom at the unmade bed every time I went by to see that Bonfire was still with us.
Now, I glance in there out of habit. Every time I go by. He’s not there and the bed is made.
He’s gone. He’s really gone.
But he will never be forgotten.