Losing Bonfire

This was taken on June 9, 2020 before he started losing weigh faster and declining more rapidly. This was his favorite spot to sit and take in the fresh air and a little sunshine

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.

Maddie likes to be covered with blankets or pillows. Bonfire liked to lie on pillows. So this happened quite often. Maddie wasn’t always happy about it, but Bonfire loved it and would often put out a paw to touch her and then let it rest there.

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.

This is the last photo we took of him on August 22, 2020. He still looked not too bad. By the 28th, he looked awful, could barely stand and we knew it was time.

But he will never be forgotten.

pbspettravel.co.uk

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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