Simon, obviously a skilled journalist and Twitter-user, tweets not as a journalist, but as a son. A son, who despite his own accomplishments, is losing his mother. And this leaves him raw and bare and naked. Nothing is more intimate than grief. Nothing more personal than death’s bedside. Nothing is as revealing as a room in an ICU or hospice.
My own grandmother passed away in March. After a very quick battle with Stage 4 lung cancer, our family found ourselves huddled together in a hospice room for days and nights, the number of which I can’t remember now because they all seemed like one long, continuous day.
You hated being there, you knew how it would end, but at the same time you didn’t want it too. You fought back the urge to cry, to curse the heavens because that is not what they need. They need laughter and song and their hands held and your presence as you whisper in their ear that it is okay to go, even though in your heart you don’t want them too – it’s not okay for you to lose them.
I learned more about my mother in those days spent in hospice, as she lost hers, than I had in the 22 years previously. I was reminded of the strength of the bonds between me and my family – my aunt, my cousins, my father, my sister. Though it seems sometimes we have nothing in common and rarely talk, at the end of the day we are one.
At the end of the day, career and degrees and achievements mean nothing. In a hospital room, you are what you loved and you are who loved you.
Mumford and Sons sings “In these bodies we will live/in these bodies we will die/and where you invest your love/you invest your life.”
This resonates with me as I begin my career, as I forge my path in the world and try to figure out what I want out of life. I want to tell these stories, to capture these intimate moments, these true moments of humanity that shed more light on the human condition than any news conference or city commission meeting.
But more, I want to live these stories. In his effort to tell his mother’s story, Scott Simon lived his own.
Ben Montgomery of the Tampa Bay Times once tweeted “Let there be no doubt: We are our stories.”
No greater truth could have been written.