What I will remember most clearly is not the sensation of needles sliding under my skin; the universal smells of hospitals; the stress of the waiting room; the awkward fit of the gown; the noise of the machines; the kindness of the nurses; or the fear of what this procedure means. Those things belong more to other memories.

What I will remember this time is my father keeping watch beside my bed. Sometimes bent over book or magazine, but always aware.  Aware of when I flinch in pain, or am waiting for a nurse, or am almost due for another dose of medicine.

This isn’t his first time either, after all. I have lain in other hospital beds. And before me there was my mother’s, and earlier yet his parents’ bedsides to keep watch beside.

This time I remember watching his vigil, once again, and thinking, “Too much.”