TODAY   |  July 30, 2013

Scott Simon shares ‘lesson about grace’ from late mom

NPR radio host Scott Simon has been touching people across the country by tweeting from his mother’s deathbed in a Chicago hospital. He tells NBC’s Kevin Tibbles what has inspired him to share deeply personal moments with over 1 million followers on Twitter.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 7:42 with a touching and personal story playing out on social media . scott simon tweeting from his mother 's bedside as she lay dying in a chicago hospital. kevin has more on that now. kevin , good morning to you.

>>> matt, i never met scott simon before in person until now but it's as if we're old friends after spending years listening to his weekly radio broadcast weekend edition on mpr but these days many people are following him on twitter as he stands vigil by his mother 's bedside.

>> hi, i'm scott simon .

>> his analysis and thoughtful voice weren't there for me on the radio saturday morning over coffee. instead, he is here at chicago 's northwestern memorial hospital .

>> my mother and me together looking, i don't want to say death in the eye but looking life in the face.

>> reporter: scott's 84-year-old mother patricia is fighting for her life suffering with cancer. a battle she lost overnight. but simon hasn't fallen silent. quite the opposite.

>> this is today, with scott simon .

>> the long ago host of weekend today has been a constant on social media tweeting from her bedside.

>> i love holding my mother 's hand. having held it like this since i was 9. why did i stop? i thought it unmanly? what crap.

>> through these short messages simon now shares these deeply personal moments with his 1.2 million followers on twitter.

>> why share such a personal moment with the rest of the world ?

>> because i think my mother has a lot to say to a lot of people and i'm not embarrassed to share it.

>> reporter: but it is his mother 's life that simon wants us all to celebrate.

>> i think it's nice that people will know what patricia simon said because she poured everything into me.

>> while many look at social media as anonymous and impersonal, he uses his 140 characters to help himself and others cope with grief.

>> he is not just posting into the void his feelings. he is really sharing them with an audience responding to him and he is feeling that and responding back.

>> reporter: the reaction is overwhelming. is it weird to tweet from your mother 's death bed ? no it's real and moving and lovely. thank you npr scott simon for sharing your love. although there has been some negative reaction. some things are best left untweeted. i love scott simon but i disagree with him tweeting during his mother 's death.

>> i tell you, death is a universal experience.

>> and if we don't talk about it --

>> it's something we have to figure out how to live with. how to both struggle with, struggle against and finally accept.

>> reporter: simon has also shown us the humorous side of their relationship. i know end might approximate near as this is only day of my adulthood i've seen my mother and she hasn't asked, why that shirt?

>> i'm so glad. i've been buying a new one every day.

>> reporter: life long memories and a painful process shared in such a public and poetic way.

>> i'm getting a life's lesson about grace from my mother in the icu. we never stop learning from our mothers, do we?

>> it was after our interview that scott simon returned to his mother 's room, eventually tweeting overnight the heavens over chicago have opened and patricia simon newman has stepped on stage. no doubt he was there holding her hand as she left on her journey. guys, back to you.

>> all right. kevin in chicago . first thought is our condolences go out to scott and his family. second thought is we know him from his days here. he is such a smart and thoughtful guy and i love what he did.

>> i do too.

>> i think having been with both of my parents when they passed the idea that he is helping other people, i think, deal with that is immeasurable.

>> it's such a tribute to her too. if you read through the feed. each post is so poetic. i says something wise and profound and i think it's an honor to her.

>> 140 characters i don't think ever meant so much.

>> but also he's the one that only knew his mom and if he felt his mom would have objected to this he couldn't have done it.

>> we can all learn from