She was one of four patients I was responsible for.
A tiny bird of a woman in her nineties.
Her room was dimmed and very peaceful and she allowed me to feed her a minuscule portion of soup with a teaspoon.
Inbetween tastes, we spoke briefly.
She taught me to pronounce her name which was very Welsh and very difficult to say.
I told her it was only my second shift at the hospice.
I made her comfortable and asked if I could brush her thick grey hair which had feathered out against her pillow.
She nodded weakly her consent.
The soft plastic teeth of her pink hairbrush glided gently against her scalp and at every brush she half closed her eyes in brief bursts of pleasure.
" I too love having my hair brushed, I always have from when I was a little boy " I admitted and she nodded again
She fell asleep within a minute or two.
I sat quietly for a while, the hairbrush still in my hand.
I was remembering a secret, shared a long time ago.
A conversation between my husband and I.
One of those private talks, you have with your next of kin
At quiet times, like that moment in that hospice side room
" If you were ever dying on intensive care" he told me " I will sit by your bed and run my fingers through your hair"
I felt I was going to weep, but I didn't.
The old lady sighed in her sleep.
And I silently put her hairbrush away and slipped away from the room