Scott Simon’s mother died last night (July 29) in Chicago. He was at her side for several days as she lay in a hospital ICU. During this time, he posted thoughts on his Twitter account, which has one-and-a-quarter million followers.
Scott Simon is a radio broadcaster and a storyteller. He hosts National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
To read his recent tweets is to share the experience of witnessing his mother’s final days. Some tweets are tender and sad. Others are funny. He told of her death with this tweet: “The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage.”
To read the tweets, click HERE for a link to his Twitter timeline. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter, the tweets are listed in reverse order. Time since posting is listed on the right side of each tweet.)
Simon’s observations and those from his mother were posted online in real time. As one media expert noted today, most deathwatch stories are told after the fact, when there has been time for reflection and editing.
The tweets from Scott Simon have touched many. Responses have included: “I was deeply moved by Scott Simon’s Twitter feeds. They were generous and loving.” “I sat in my office and bawled like a child, then laughed, then cried some more. Beauty.” “His is an intuitive record of bearing witness to the dying. I think it will help others who sit with dying loved ones.” “When my grandma died in hospice 4 months ago, I wish I had been able to articulate my emotions like this. Tragic. Beautiful.”
Interestingly, his tweets have created a bit of controversy. Online commenters have stated: “Death is a private thing.” “Tweeting from a dying parent’s bedside is intrinsically perverse.” “I think this is over-sharing.” “I would hope my kids would turn off their phones during my last time on earth.” “I can’t believe this guy used his mother like that.” “Instead of focusing on her in her final moments, he’s playing with a toy. Sicko.”
Talking about death is difficult for many. Any mention of death and dying causes some people to cover their eyes and ears. We applaud Scott Simon for telling the story of his mother and her final days in such a public way. We extend our condolences to him and his family.
For more on this topic, click HERE to watch an interview with Scott Simon from the Today show (July 30).
Feel free to call Hope Hospice any time for grief counseling or for answers to questions about end-of-life options. 314-984-9800.