As death approaches, Tweeting a mother’s goodbye

Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR, is a master essayist and storyteller. He’s telling a compelling story now on Twitter: the imminent death of his mother.

He started a couple of weeks ago when he got a phone call from his mother while on vacation. “I’m surrounded by handsome men,” she said. She was at the hospital awaiting emergency surgery for an undisclosed illness. He was on vacation and headed for the hospital.

Apparently, he’s been sleeping on the floor of a Chicago hospital, on an air mattress he had to buy.

These last few days, things turned darker.

But Simon kept telling the story, noting that he tells his mother millions of people on Twitter love her.

His mother dispenses advice, like “pay attention to people in their 80s. They’ve been staring at death for more than a decade and know what’s vital.”

Early this morning, he tweets that he can only hold his mother.

Around breakfast today, he acknowledges her death could come at any moment. A nurse says hearing is usually the first to go. So he sings to her.

Twitter has never brought us closer.

Scott Simon’s mother, Patricia Lyons Simon Newman Gilband, appeared on his show once — November 22, 2008 — when she told him her story.

“It’s been a beautiful journey knowing you,” she said.

He started crying and said, “I love you.”

(h/t: Larry Hosch)

update 7:56 pm His mother died this evening.