As I held his hands I knew he needed me, as my thumb stroked over the back of his fingers I could feel his worry, his fear of the unknown and of the future. Without saying a word I showed by holding his hand that I was there for him, and him alone.
The simple act of being there for another, to be there as a witness, an advocate and a confidante is innate to many, especially to me.
The holding of hands to say hello, to say goodbye, to show you love and care is global, there needs be no words, no understanding of another's language; when you hold a hand you show you see them in that moment and that they are impacting on your life, however briefly.
I have held the hands of my wonderful family and seen the love in their eyes, held the hands of thousands upon thousands of strangers who's names I will never remember but many of who's faces I see in my mind's eyeyears on.
I have held so many differenthands over the years, from newborn babies with the look of wonder in my eyes at their perfection,to the wonderful seniors it has been my pleasure to meet and learn from.
I have been there at the moment of birth and at the end of life. I am, and have been,there for the sick, the scared, the lonely and the dying.
I have stroked just about all the colours of the skin to be seen on this rich and fertile earth, and every time I have cherished the chance to show I care, that I am there, on this earth, just for them at that moment and that they are the most important person anywhere for me right then.
To see the relief in someone's eyes as you smile at them, to see that you are making a difference at that very singular point of time is humbling and keeps me centred.
You see, I do this compassionate thing, this act of caring for a living. It is my vocation, my reason for being, to be able to make a difference in someone's life for a little while.
You may not remember my name or my face but you would rememberhow ihelped you feel, youseeI am the Nurse.
It is my simple joy to try to makeeach of themsmile, to relieve their worry andtension with laughter. I am that silly woman who without embarrassment and with a twinkle in my eye will ask the men of all ages, and nearly all the women too, be them 24 or 94,if they're pregnant before taking them to the operating theatres, just to see them grin if it's not possible!
And the man who's hand I was holding at the beginning of this piece? He will never leave my heart, never leave my head as he departed this earth. Giving him the dignity and peacehe needed,knowing that someone cared and was there for him, allowed him to take his last breath and let go of the struggle to breathe.
As he left I sat there, quietly talking to him, murmuring goodbyes and stroking his hand. It is my lasting memory of him, the peace in his face and the soft skin on the back of his hand.