Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Patricia Lyons Simon Newman Gilband (1929 -- 2013)

This is the longest and most beautiful Chripstory I have had the privilege to curate. 
One of NPR's most erudite journalists has given the world a shining monument to his mother in these Twitter messages. 
Take time to read them one at a time. 

The Passing of Scott Simon's Mother

By request, my ICU bed. Hermes
orange, my mother notes.
Note functional nightstand, too:

I brought news to my Irish mother in hospital of the royal birth, & she said, "We have a king!" Always a UK, eh?  (8 days ago)

I just want to say that ICU nurses are remarkable people. Thank you for what you do for our loved ones.   (7 days ago)

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.

So whole raft of @elischeesecake goodies just personally delivered to ICU. Delicious. More important--epochally thoughtful.                                               (6 days ago)

Bless all ICU nurses who are getting people through pain & anxieties tonight.                                     (5 days ago)

All hospitals should have roll-out chairs in ICU rooms so loved ones can spend night w/ patients & not sleep on floor. @NMHnews

Thanks for prayers my mother in ICU. She greeted the woman who picks up trash: "Blanca, you herald a new day." Class.

@101Below Thank you so much for your prayer for my mother in that historic church. Our whole family is grateful.

I am getting a life's lesson about grace from my mother in the ICU. We never stop learning from our mothers, do we?

In line at hospital Starbucks. Dancing in the Streets comes on. Line begins to sing, "They're dancin' in Chi-caw-go!"

Restorative night at Frontera. Tomato dish worth flying from Dubai to eat. Maybe @rick_bayless can reveal how it's done.                                                                                                            (4 days ago)

Tnx for all but wishes for my mother in ICU. Her anthem, more than ever, is But I'm Still Here. She inspires us all.

My mother knows the name & story of every nurse & doctor in the ICU. She keeps no one a stranger.

What is the idea behind deep fried onion rings in a hospital cafeteria?

Bought air mattress for ICU floor. Told salesperson "All I know about outdoors is I loath them." "You looking for Bloomingdales?"

Our friend Wen Huang dropped by ICU to read to my mother from his book. She smiles, "Haven't we had a lovely day?"

My mother & I just sang Que Sera Sera 3 times. God bless you Doris Day for giving us such a great theme song.                                                                                                                           (3 days ago)

Tried to buy coffee for family w/ a mother in ICU too. Barista overheard, refused my card. "Your money's no good here."

I consider this a good sign: mother sez when time comes, obit headline should be Three Jewish Husbands, But No Guilt.

My mother drifts to sleep listening to Nat's Unforgettable. I keep things light, but moments like this hard, if sweet.

Mother can't sleep. We listen to music, her face feels puffy, hot. We talk of much. I say "You need sleep." "Not really."

Mother & I just finished a duet of We'll Meet Again. Every word has meaning. Nurse looks in, asks, "Do you take requests?"

Thanks for all good wishes. Mother says, "We can get through this, baby. The hardest part we'll be for you when it's over"                                                                                    

-I tell her, "You've given me strength to carry it." She's reciting White Cliffs of Dover now, becoming 14 before my eyes.

Nights are the hardest. But that's why I'm here. I wish I could

And yes, wish my family was here. But want our daughters just to remember the Grandmere who lavished them w/ smiles.

No real sleep tonight. But songs poems memories laughs. My mother: "Thank you God for giving us this night & each other"

That will be my life.s slogan from now on.

My mother: "Believe me, those great death bed speeches are written ahead of time. "

Mother: what time is it? Me: 6:30. Her: oh let's raise the curtains on the city we love.

Mother: "I don't know why this is going on so long. I'm late for everything I guess."

She's a tough Irish showgirl who doesn't quit on those she loves.

Listening to La Boheme now, Bocelli. Mother can't keep eyes closed. "Maybe opera will help. I always slept when I went."

I tell my mother, "You'll never stop teaching me." She said, "Well don't blame me for everything.

Anytime you've heard me being gracious & kind, it reflected my mother's teaching. Anytime I was unkind, I fell short.

We're singing through musicals my mother taught me to love (Fiorello now). She says, "I've seen so much talent in this world!"

Old friend, Fr Chuck, comes by to recite Act of Contrition w/ my mother. We love him. My mother has nothing to be-

-contrite about. But she is typically gracious in saying it w/ Fr. Chuck.

My mother is breathing, finally sleeping. Docs asked what priority is. I just want to take her to sit in our favorite park.

Thanks for all kind messages. We're watching 42 (movie), cherishing every second of normalcy. Cherish yr mother tonight too.                                                                                                        (2 days ago)

Watching 42, mother remembers Leo Durocher made passes at her twice: "Once as a Dodger, once as a Cub." Who's the all-star?

I don't know how we'll get through these next few days. And, I don't want them to end.

Mother asks, "Will this go on forever?" She means pain, dread. "No." She says, "But we'll go on forever. You & me." Yes.

Wake up, see my hands shaking. Mother holds them, murmurs, "Goodnight Sweet Prince." Morphine, but no sleep for her.

Family joins me today. Maybe they'll help me to be strong. My mother showed me how that's done, come to think of it.

I see dawn coming in sky and want to hold it back to keep my mother from what's ahead--to keep my mother, period.

A thought tonight for all who are in pain. We must be stronger than our fears.

If we only truly realized how little time we have..,

Derek, mother's kind & wise nurse, says "Get some sleep. Mothers like to see sons sleep." But I hold her hand while I can.

When my mother woke briefly I sang her My Best Girl. She replied w/ You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Broadway in the ICU.

ICU seems to be staffed by good, smart young docs who think they know everything, and wise RN's who really do.

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.

City is cool, bright, & lovely this morning. My mother touches a splash of sunlight w/ her fingers. "Hello, Chicago!"

Just spent 45 mins looking for mother' favorite dental floss. Waste of time? Act of faith.

I am not sure my mother understands Twitter or why I tell her millions of people love her--but she says she's ver touched.

I think she wants me to pass along a couple of pieces of advice, ASAP. One: reach out to someone who seems lonely today.

And: listen to people in their 80's. They have looked across the street at death for a decade. They know what's vital.

Oh, and: Oh earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you. It goes too quickly.

Journos who say they're hard-boiled cause they see so much should know ICU nurses see more in a week. And come out kind.

Been mulling (friendly, Merlot-soaked) arguments with CHitchens on God. Hitch knew more bible & eloquently pointed to inanities. I always wound up saying, as I do now, Maybe you're right. But it's not the way I want to live.

My mother now wakes only to be gracious. "Is Reggie or Don on-duty? They're both such exquisite gentlemen." (and they are)

Mother groans w/ pleasure--over flossing. "When they mention great little things in life, they usually forget flossing."

Breathing hard now. She sleeps, opens eyes a minute, sleeps. I sing, "I'll always be there, as frightened as you," to her.

My family has landed! ICU nurse works on mother's hair, using makeup mirror. Almost falls. Mother: "Don't let that break!"

In another ICU, father of our friend @RobertFalls201 passed away this AM after a helluva fight. We send our love and prayers.

Was my mother saving this line? My family flies in. My wife & I joke about me sleeping in the ICU ("All the beeps! Can't  you med people keep it down?") Tell my mother I'll see my wife downstairs, back in 10. Mother says, "Have a quickie!"                                                                           (1 day ago)

I love holding my mother's hand. Haven't held it like this since I was 9. Why did I stop? I thought it unmanly? What crap.

Thought that my mother won't get another glimpse of the city she loves is unbearable. My wife, from France, points out--

"She is seeing Chicago in the faces of the loving, tough, & kind souls working so hard for her in the ICU." She's right.

Wish clever minds that invented the Space Shuttle or Roomba could devise an oxygen mask that doesn't slip every 20 mins.

In middle of nights like this, my knees shake as if there's an earthquake. I hold my mother's arm for strength--still.

Mother cries Help Me at 2;30. Been holding her like a baby since. She's asleep now. All I can do is hold on to her.

@SarahJonesNews Sarah contact kathy@kathylayne.com who is routing all contact.

Can't hold my mother like a baby indefinitely--have to use the bathroom. My wife coming over w/ my mother's husband.

Her passing might come any moment, or in an hour, or not for a day. Nurses saying hearing is last sense to go so I sing & joke.

When she asked for my help last night, we locked eyes. She calmed down. A look of love that surpasses understanding.

Listening to Nat & Natalie sing Unforgettable. Mother & I sang it just two nights ago. Coles have better voices for sure.

I know end might be near as this is only day of my adulthood I've seen my mother and she hasn't asked, "Why that shirt?"

@michele_norris Thank you, Michele. I miss my friends & colleagues but am so grateful to hear such warm words from so many.

I think I can safely reveal now that last night we snuck a dram of "grape juice" to my mother. Nurses shocked, shocked!

Heart rate dropping. Heart dropping.

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.

Thank you for all yr warm wishes and prayers. Such love drives the world.                 (23 hours ago)

The loveli cityscape at the foot of my mother's bed:

No comments:

Post a Comment