I’ve been listening to Scott Simon’s distinctive voice on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” for years. After reading this article I know he also has a distinctive, elegant, and loving voice via Twitter. For those of us who haven’t yet found a way to take full advantage of Twitter, read Simon’s tweets about the last days of his mother’s life. After reading them myself, I had to share this article with you.
Here’s the link if you want to read the entire Los Angeles Times article. You can also listen to Simon's words on the NPR site.
NPR's Scott Simon: A vigil for his dying mother, tweeted with love
By Matt Pearce
This post has been updated, as indicated below.
6:18 PM PDT, July 29, 2013
Scott Simon, a radio host for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” gave his mother, Patricia Simon Newman Gilband, a very public farewell.
Gilband appeared with her son on NPR in 2008, when the pair bantered as she shared stories from her life in Chicago. “Well, I think the thing I have learned from you -- number one, you're a beautiful companion,” Gilband told Simon then. “You've always been a lot of fun. No matter what age, we all got -- we were compatible. We got along beautifully. … You've never lost your childlike sense of enthusiasm.”
For the last few days, Simon, who has more than a million followers on Twitter, has been tweeting odes and observations from his mother’s bedside in an intensive-care unit in a Chicago hospital, where she was dying.
“It is a remarkable and moving moment,” fellow NPR host Peter Sagal of “Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!” tweeted Saturday. “Pay attention.”
On Monday at 7:17 p.m., Simon tweeted twice: "The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage."
"She will make the face of heaven shine so fine that all the world will be in love with night."
A few more of Simon’s tweets:
I just want to say that ICU nurses are remarkable people. Thank you for what you do for our loved ones.
All hospitals should have roll-out chairs in ICU rooms so loved ones can spend night w/ patients & not sleep on floor.
I am getting a life's lesson about grace from my mother in the ICU. We never stop learning from our mothers, do we?
Tnx for all but wishes for my mother in ICU. Her anthem, more than ever, is But I'm Still Here. She inspires us all.
Our friend Wen Huang dropped by ICU to read to my mother from his book. She smiles, "Haven't we had a lovely day?"
I consider this a good sign: mother sez when time comes, obit headline should be Three Jewish Husbands, But No Guilt.
My mother drifts to sleep listening to Nat's Unforgettable. I keep things light, but moments like this hard, if sweet.
Thanks for all good wishes. Mother says, "We can get through this, baby. The hardest part we'll be for you when it's over"
I tell my mother, "You'll never stop teaching me." She said, "Well don't blame me for everything."
My mother is breathing, finally sleeping. Docs asked what priority is. I just want to take her to sit in our favorite park.
No real sleep tonight. But songs poems memories laughs. My mother: "Thank you God for giving us this night & each other"
Mother: "I don't know why this is going on so long. I'm late for everything I guess."
I don't know how we'll get through these next few days. And, I don't want them to end.
When my mother woke briefly I sang her My Best Girl. She replied w/ You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Broadway in the ICU.
I just realized: she once had to let me go into the big wide world. Now I have to let her go the same way.
I think she wants me to pass along a couple of pieces of advice, ASAP. One: reach out to someone who seems lonely today.
And: listen to people in their 80's. They have looked across the street at death for a decade. They know what's vital.
Oh, and: Oh earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you. It goes too quickly.
In middle of nights like this, my knees shake as if there's an earthquake. I hold my mother's arm for strength--still.
Her passing might come any moment, or in an hour, or not for a day. Nurses saying hearing is last sense to go so I sing & joke.
I know end might be near as this is only day of my adulthood I've seen my mother and she hasn't asked, "Why that shirt?"
[Updated, 6:17 p.m. July 29: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Scott Simon's mother died about 7:17 p.m. Chicago time.]
All direct quotes are shown in italics.