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Looking Across the Street At Death: It Happened (And We Were There)

by Abby Zimet

NPR host Scott Simon live-tweeted his mother's death from her hospital room. His tweets were tender, honest, heartbreaking, hilarious - from her "tough Irish showgirl" wisecracks - 'I don't know why this is going on so long. I'm late for everything I guess' and soul-stirring exclamations - 'Oh Earth, you're too beautiful for anyone to realize' - to his pained ruminations on letting go of parents as they once did with kids and his own wry way of dealing with what's coming: “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?’" Simon's act has prompted an ongoing debate about the role of social media and the death of privacy. Some, repulsed, thought it was oversharing. Many others - often hospice workers - thanked Simon for his grace and courage in making accessible the tough conversation so many Americans shy from. Facts owe: We have all been, or will be, there.

On July 29, at her death: "Heart dropping.” And then: “The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage.”

A few days later, sitting with his 6-year-old on his lap: He: "This is what life is all about - the small things." She: "I'm bored."

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