“As some of you know, my mother, Gloria, passed away recently,” Jimmy Fallon said in making Monday’s return to the Tonight Show after taking a week off to be with his family  following her death on November 4.

“She was the best audience, the one I was always trying to make laugh. She was such a fan of the show and everything I did,” he told viewers.

When he was a child, his mother would squeeze his hand three times and say, “I love you.”

“Last week I was in the hospital, and I squeezed her hand and said ‘I love you,’” Fallon said, through tears, explaining, “I just knew we were in trouble.”

“I feel so grateful to be able to do this every single night,” he said of hosting the NBC late-night show, telling viewers “I’m very appreciative of all the support from all of you that my family received over the past week. We’re going to continue to work really hard to bring some light and some laughter into the world. Thank you for watching. Thank you for helping me and my family recover from this loss.”