And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.—COLOSSIANS 3:14 (ESV)
Daddy didn’t like cats. He was a dog man. As he got older, however, he mellowed to the point that when Mary, the stray cat who stayed, was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma on her face, he thought it best that she become an indoor cat.
About the same time, my father lost his sight due to an optic nerve stroke, as well as suffering from congestive heart failure, diabetes and colorectal cancer.
Mary decided her favorite spot was the same king-sized bed where my daddy rested as his health deteriorated. In his younger days, my cantankerous dad wouldn’t have allowed that. Even when the equally cantankerous Mary scratched Daddy’s arm, just because he accidentally bumped her, Daddy let her stay. Her health declined, too, due to the inoperable cancerous tumor. It seemed they both needed each other.
I wasn’t particularly fond of Mary. Partly because I was slightly allergic to cats, but mostly because she just wasn’t a very nice one. She didn’t give affection nor did she seem to desire it. Oddly, though, she let Daddy pet her. I watched her bring out a softness in my dad that I’d never seen while growing up. There was a tenderness in my sick father that I’d never witnessed.
And for that reason alone, I loved her.