NPR's Scott Simon Chronicles A Life - And Death - In 140 Heart-Wrenching Characters | KERA News

NPR's Scott Simon Chronicles A Life - And Death - In 140 Heart-Wrenching Characters

Jul 30, 2013

Update, 5:30 p.m.: Scott Simon just talked to All Things Considered's Audie Cornish about his mother's last few days of life and why he decided to tweet about them. Warning: When Nat King Cole's Unforgettable starts playing, no eye will be dry.

Our original post: "The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage."

That's a tweet from Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, at 7:17 p.m. yesterday, characterizing the final moments of his larger-than-life mother. And it was the culmination of the heart-wrenching, heart-filling six-day journey that he shared with his 1.2 million Twitter followers.

Scott was in North Texas a few months back, talking with Krys Boyd on Think and chatting with KERA members at several events. His mother was clearly ill, but he was vintage Simon: quipping on the surface and dipping deep to touch the heartstrings.

He's built a social media following unmatched at NPR. But no one, including Scott himself, could have been prepared for that final, harrowing journey. The tweets touched topics from the light ("Mother & I just finished a duet of We'll Meet Again. Every word has meaning. Nurse looks in, asks, 'Do you take requests?' ") to the touching ("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.") to the classic ("My mother: 'Believe me, those great death bed speeches are written ahead of time.")

Leave it to Scott Simon (and his mother) to make 140 words mean, and do, so much.