June 20, 2013 at 11:17 AM ET
Stephen Colbert returned to "The Colbert Report" Wednesday night after a one-week absence, and if viewers were unsure why he left in the first place, they soon understood.
At the top of the show, Colbert explained that his 92-year-old mother, Lorna Colbert, passed away last week.
"Now if you watch this show, and you like this show, that's because of everybody who works here, and I'm lucky to be one of them," he said. "But when you watch the show, if you also like me, that's because of my mom."
That statement kicked off a tribute to her, complete with a brief summary of a life well lived -- from her meeting and falling for Colbert's father, James, when she was just 12 years old, to later marrying him and having 11 children.
"She made a very loving home for us," the host recalled. "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."
Colbert went on to share just how much his mother is already missed.
"I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long," he said. "But the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish it ... only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut."