This study focuses on the meaningful encounters of patients and next of kin, seen from their perspective. Identifying the attributes within meaningful encounters is important for increased understanding of caring and to expand and develop earlier formulated knowledge about caring relationships. Caring theory about the caring relationship and provided a point of departure for the study. The aim of this study was to illuminate the meaningful encounter in health care contexts narrated by patients and next of kin. A qualitative explorative design with a hermeneutic narrative approach was used to analyze and interpret the written narratives. Phases were: Naïve interpretation, structure analysis on two different levels a) analysis of narrative structure b) analysis of deep structure through metaphors and finally a dialectic interpretation. In the narratives the meaning of the meaningful encounter was sharing, a nourishing fellowship, common responsibility and coming together experienced as safety and warmth and gives, by extension, life changing moments, a healing force and dissipated insight. The meaningful encounter can be seen as a complex phenomenon that has different attributes. Understanding the meaningful encounter will enable nurses to plan and provide professional care, based on caring science focusing on patient and next of kin experience.