NPR’s Scott Simon: A vigil for his dying mother, tweeted with love

July 29, 2013 by Matt Pearce, LA Times

Scott Simon, a radio host for NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” gave his mother, Patricia Simon Newman Gilband, a very public farewell.

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 of Simon’s earlier hearfelt tweets are below.

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.”

Our friend Wen Huang dropped by ICU to read to my mother from his book. She smiles, “Haven’t we had a lovely day?” — Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) July 26, 2013

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. — Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) July 28, 2013

And: listen to people in their 80’s. They have looked across the street at death for a decade. They know what’s vital. — Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) July 28, 2013

[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.]