On Monday, Jimmy Fallon returned to the set of “The Tonight Show” after taking the week to mourn the sudden death of his mother, Gloria. The 68-year-old had been sick and was in the hospital, but her death still came as a crushing blow to Jimmy.

Despite still grieving the loss of his mom, however, he paid a beautiful tribute to her when he recalled one of his fondest memories of her to his fans on his show:

“When we were little, my mom would walk us to this store, me and my sister, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you, too.’ And last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed ‘I love you.’ I just knew we were in trouble, you know?”

As a viewer, it was clear Jimmy was struggling to get through his statements about her, let alone a whole show — and that’s something his staff recognized as well.

One of “The Tonight Show’s” writers and producers, Mike DiCenzo‏, took to Twitter that night to reveal just how hard they knew the show was going to be for Jimmy:

However, DiCenzo knew it would be a tough episode to get through — especially when it came time to talk about his mom:

He wrote that he and the crew members wanted to make the show a special one for Jimmy, so they decided to ask one of the world’s biggest artists a favor. Luckily, she obliged:

But no one expected her performance to be so special. In fact, it was seemingly serendipitous:

He continued, writing that when Jimmy heard the lyrics, he couldn’t help but cry — nor could anyone else in the room:

After her performance, Jimmy embraced Taylor in what DiCenzo described as “real emotion”:

And that hug was something fans noticed, too:

This moment was much more than a talk show host and his guest performers; it was two humans sharing the pain of loss — and that is beautiful.

To watch a video of the full performance, check out the video below:

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Jimmy Fallon Lost It When Taylor Swift Sang ‘Squeeze My Hand Three Times’ — And It’s Because of His Mom

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