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Colbert's Heartfelt Tribute to Late Mom
PHOTO: Stephen Colbert visits "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" at Rockefeller Center on February 21, 2013 in New York City.

(Photo credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Stephen Colbert returned to television last night for the first time since his mother Lorna died last week at age 92, and he began his by paying tribute to her.

"If you watch this show and you also like me, that's because of my mom," said Colbert during his monologue for his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report."

"She made a very loving home for us," he said of growing up as one of 11 children. "No fight between siblings could end without hugs and kisses, though hugs never needed a reason in her house. Singing and dancing were encouraged, except at the dinner table. She had trained as an actress when she was younger and she would teach us how to do stage falls by pretending to faint on the kitchen floor. She was fun."

After pausing to collect himself, Colbert explained that her mother "knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons, but her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to go on but to love life without bitterness and to instill in us a gratitude for every day we have together."

Colbert said that during his mother's last few days, she grew confused, but remembered the prayer she recited with her children when they were young.

"Her favorite memory of prayer was as a young mother tucking in her children," he continued. "We were the light of her life and she let us know it to the end."

And she was clearly the light of us.

"When I was leaving her last week, I leaned over and said, 'Mom, I'm going back to do the show.'" he said. "She said, 'I can't wait to see it. I wouldn't miss it for the world.'"

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