Finuala Wyer - the stranger who briefly comforted late SDLP leader John Hume in his darkest hours in the aftermath of of a loyalist massacre - has spoken for the first time about her act of kindness.
It was November 1993, a time of almost unbearable trauma and one of the most violent times since the earliest days of the Troubles.
Mr Hume stood desolate in a graveyard in the small Co Londonderry village of Greysteel.
Eight innocent civilians had been murdered by UFF terrorists who entered the Rising Sun bar on October 30, 1993.
One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before he opened fire.
Days earlier the IRA had detonated a bomb in Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road.
It was a horror beyond description. Nine people were killed as well as one of the IRA bombers, Thomas Begley. More than 50 were injured.
Days later Gerry Adams carried the coffin of Begley through the streets of Belfast.
It was the lowest point of the SDLP leader's political and personal life.
Delicate peace talks being led by Hume, who was attempting to negotiate an IRA ceasefire with Mr Adams, had become public knowledge and now lay in tatters.
He had been personally unfairly vilified in the media for engaging with the Provos. He was hospitalised with stress shortly after.
On that cold winter day in Greysteel, Mr Hume wept uncontrollably while being comforted by a young woman, and the images were broadcast around the world.
They have been replayed many times over the past week.
In her eyewitness account, RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan described it as "a moment I will never forget".
She recalled: "All funerals are sad, but there was something particularly upsetting and poignant about this one. All around the graveyard women and men were crying.
"I spotted John Hume across the graveyard. His wife Pat was standing beside him.
"I could not stop looking at him, wondering what was going through his mind at that moment.
"Then I noticed a woman go up to him and start to speak to both John and Pat. Within moments John started to weep uncontrollably, and the woman immediately comforted him in her arms. I always remember how she touched the side of his face to try to ease his pain. But John continued to cry."
Fr Paul Farren mentioned the significance of that single act of compassion at Mr Hume's funeral Mass on Wednesday.
"We should never underestimate how difficult it was for John to cross the road and do what was intensely unpopular for the greater good," he said.
"It was compassion, a compassion that visibly bubbled over in the graveyard in Greysteel that drove John on the final and often lonely and always difficult road to peace."
It was the only time the public had ever seen John Hume cry.
He later revealed that the conversation encouraged him "enormously" to keep to his task of peace.
Now, for the first time in 27 years the woman - Finuala Wyer - explains why she felt compelled to reach out to Mr Hume.
"1993 saw some of the darkest days of the Troubles, all sides were traumatised," said the mother-of-two from Waterside in Derry.
"I attended the Greysteel funerals to show my support for a beloved friend who had lost a family member in the Rising Sun massacre.
"After the service the graveyard was full of pain and anguish. I was acutely aware, at that moment, that this scene had been played out all over the province time and time again through the years.
"The weight of that realisation was overwhelming.
"I looked over and saw John and Pat Hume.
"John looked so broken to me, and he touched my heart.
"I knew that he was under the most immense pressure from many quarters. He had been dismissed from Dublin and London and seemed so isolated."
Her instinct told her to go and speak to him. "I was unhappy that people in Dublin and London and the media weren't treating him fairly," she recalled.
"A politician in Ireland had recently said when asked about the North that it 'wasn't an election issue'.
"That's why I approached him.
"My conversation with him was brief, touching for both of us, and intended to be private.
"My words to him came from my heart, and I wanted him to know ordinary people that he represented appreciated what he was trying to achieve. I believe that if you stand in your power and tell the truth, you will receive the support you need.
"Knowing that so many people who lost their lives during the Troubles never got to finish school, get married, raise a family, play with their grandchildren, was so heartbreaking. It only made finding a solution to the senseless loss of life more urgent.
"Many people worked hard to find peace. Some did it quietly, some publicly.
"Because of their efforts, and most importantly John Hume, a whole generation has been spared the horror of violence.
"Our young people today know peace. We all do. That is a magnificent achievement.
"In John Hume, the world had a Nobel-winning statesman. And even in terrible times the people of Derry always had his back."