If your mother were dying and you happened to have a national audience, would you bring them along with you as you watched her pass away? NPR host Scott Simon sat with his mother through her last two weeks of life in the ICU, tweeting his musings as he watched his mother slowly lose her 18-year battle with cancer. If it sounds crass to tweet from your mother's death bed, you may want to take a look at some of Simon's tweets. The way his thoughts were delivered may be new to us, but they are still profound and full of grace.
I am getting a life's lesson about grace from my mother in the ICU. We never stop learning from our mothers, do we?
My mother in ICU sees Kate & Will holding baby and tears: "Every baby boy is a little king to his parents." So I tear too.
My mother knows the name & story of every nurse & doctor in the ICU. She keeps no one a stranger.
My mother drifts to sleep listening to Nat's Unforgettable. I keep things light, but moments like this hard, if sweet.
Mother & I just finished a duet of We'll Meet Again. Every word has meaning. Nurse looks in, asks, "Do you take requests?"
I tell my mother, "You'll never stop teaching me." She said, "Well don't blame me for everything."
Nights are the hardest. But that's why I'm here. I wish I could lift my mother's pain & fears from her bones into mine.
Mother asks, "Will this go on forever?" She means pain, dread. "No." She says, "But we'll go on forever. You & me." Yes.
What can you say after that? What a beautiful tribute to Simon's mother.
Twitter usually feels ephemeral and superficial. How could you take your most private moments and toss them out into the wind like this? But Simon has spent time creating a community, and he drew that community close for this intimate moment.
And after all, Twitter may feel fleeting, but for better or worse it lingers. It's life that's fleeting. Scott Simon was writing an ode to his mother, 140 characters or less at a time, little by little. He brought us into the ICU with him. He let us witness the pain of saying goodbye to his mother. And we are left with his words.
Simon and all of us can now look back on those two weeks and think about our own mothers, our loved ones who have passed away. Those of us who are used to hearing Scott Simon's voice on the radio hear his voice in our minds with these tweets, and we can't help but be warmed by it. So while Simon's loss is sad, there's a kind of comfort in his tribute, too.
Who would you want to share a loved one's last moments with?
Image via nprscottsimon/Twitter