IT is one of the most natural and simplest things to do when someone is in pain or suffering, but reaching out to touch people fell victim to the pandemic.

Marie Curie Hospice's nursing teams up and down the country providing care on units or at patients' homes would instinctively held someone's hand to comfort them.

However, the army of nurses had to adapt their whole approach to how care was provided to seriously ill cancer patients in the past 18 months.

As part of our I remember phase of The Herald's covid memorial project we are reaching out to help us capture the thoughts of people and what they will remember about the pandemic. The Herald has raised more than £60,000 to create a memorial in Glasgow's Pollok Country Park to those lost to covid or affected by it.

Herald Covid memorial artist Alec Finlay in Pollok Country Park. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Herald Covid memorial artist Alec Finlay in Pollok Country Park. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

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Our artist Alec Finlay is leading a series of dedicated workshops to help people through the I remember process and one particular workshop, in association with Marie Curie, will focus on those living the cancer or chronic illness during the pandemic. The I remember form is a single sentence which will provide a record a point in time.

Staff at charity Marie Curie spoke of the lasting memories they have of the pandemic and how they changed their approach.

Lorraine Mackie, Clinical Nurse Manager in Grampian, remembered thinking how they would be able to respond to patients.

"I remember thinking when we had PPE to wear, regardless of patients having covid or not, the preparation for that was a huge minefield and trying to figure out what was the right way to go," said Mrs Mackie. "And for me I remember thinking our nurses are not going to be able to hold the patients' hands at home when we are there all night with them.

"I just remember thinking about the devastation for the patient of not being able to have that theraputic touch that is so important at end of life and not being able to do for both the patients and our nurses who have struggled and continued to struggle with that aspect of it as they are not to be able to touch a patient's hand to give them some relief on their journey towards their end of life . When the pandemic hit the biggest thing for me was how are my team of nurses going to be able to support patients, but they have been amazing and have used their voice more than anything else. They can't use their smile, or their hands. All they have is their eyes and their voice to alleviate any distress in a patient."

Lorraine Mackie recalled how it had been for the team of nurses in Grampian

Lorraine Mackie recalled how it had been for the team of nurses in Grampian

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Libby Milton, Associate Director Strategic Partnerships and Services for Scotland, said:"I think the I remember has a power to help people process this and will help staff to cope as well as patients. I remember feeling a responsibility for our teams like never before in trying to protect them."

Margaret Laidlaw, Nurse Manger Inpatients at the Glasgow Hospice, and her colleagues had been used to working with an open door policy with face to face care plans prior to covid.

Mrs Laidlaw said: "I remember thinking what were we going to do with visiting and keeping people connected. We couldn't just say well that's it and leave patients without support from families or those in the community.

"It forced us to carry out appointments in a way we never would with some very difficult conversations taking place virtually and that's been very hard."

To sign up to the I remember workshop dedicated to cancer and chronic illness sufferers on Thursday August 5 go to To submit an I remember, email

To donate to the campaign at herald-garden-of-remembrance. You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow, G32 8FG.