(NEW YORK) — Oprah Winfrey is opening up about Mother’s Day and what it means to her now that her mother Vernita Lee has gone home.

This will be my first Mother’s Day on earth without a mother,” she writes in the May issue of O Magazine. “Many of you already know what that feels like. It’s a reckoning with your own mortality. For me it’s neither lonely nor sad – just an undeniable marker of the passage of time. Time spent. Time remaining. And how precious every moment is.”

Lee died at her home in Milwaukee on Thanksgiving at 83. Winfrey says even now she can still distinctly remember the last words she spoke to her mother before she passed.

“I know it must have been hard for you as a 17-year-old pregnant, scared girl in Mississippi,” Winfrey recalls. “Many people no doubt told you to get rid of that baby. To have an abortion or give me away. But you didn’t. And for that I thank you. I know you did the best you could with what you had. And for that I thank you. And look how it all turned out.”

Winfrey says that even with the “complicated relationship” she had with her mother, she’s thankful for their relationship and acknowledges just how important it was to her development as an adult.

“Of the many relationships we have in life, few make as profound an impact as the one we share with our mother,” she writes. “That connection, whether strong or strained, influences who we become in countless ways. It teaches us how to be — or how not to be — adults, partners and parents to our own children.”

The May issue of O, The Oprah Magazine hits newsstands nationwide on April 23.

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