I have a co-worker whose husband is in hospital awaiting a heart transplant.
He's been sick for a long time, and lately his situation has become more delicate. My co-worker has been trying to keep it all together - working full-time, taking care of her two teenagers, and driving three hours each way to visit her husband in the hospital.
One day she snapped at something I said, but I just let it go. She obviously felt bad about it and later e-mailed me to apologize. I told her it was okay, that I know she was dealing with a lot.
A couple of hours later I passed by her office and went in to make sure she was okay. I said, "I would like to give you a hug, if you want one."
I didn't think she would because she's not a touchy-feely type of person. Surprisingly she said she would like that. That brief physical contact seemed to calm her down a bit and she thanked me.
If nothing else, at least she knew someone cared.