"That's the thing about people when they pass away, you don't realise just how much you depended on them," she said after the death of both her mother and her brother.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 2, 2021. It has since been updated.
A mother's love is unlike any other. And it's one that we often take for granted, forgetting that one day, our parents will no longer be around to make us feel loved and protected like they always have. But the day they are no longer a part of our life, the painful realization hits, showing you that nobody will love you like your mother did, just like it did for Whoopi Goldberg. When Goldberg was just 18-months old, her father abandoned them. And the entire responsibility of raising the family fell on her mother, Emma Johnson's shoulders. Goldberg formed a tight relationship with her mother and described her as "one of the best people I've had the privilege of knowing." After her mother passed away from a stroke in 2010, she said in an episode of Oprah’s Master Class, "There were no sad goodbyes, but for one thing. I realized a couple of days after she passed that no one would ever love me like that again. I wouldn’t put that kind of sparkle in anybody’s eye, you know?"
The Oscar-winning actress shared a strong relationship with her mother and said, as quoted by HuffPost, "You kind of know that person, those are your first loves. Those are the first people you tell your secrets to. Those are the people who hold you when it’s scary. That’s a big deal. So that, that I felt." For Goldberg, to have her mother be a part of her life every single day and then have her suddenly taken away was a huge loss to cope with. "I used to talk to her every day," the comedian said backstage at AARP’s national event, according to People. "I'm still in the habit of talking to her, you know, but I just wish she were here with me." Her mother was the woman who filled her with strength and she recalled, "Every day she’d say, 'I'm proud of you.' And I would respond, 'I'm proud of you.' I was very lucky to have her as a mother."
This #MothersDay, we’re honoring the incredible mother of @WhoopiGoldberg, Emma Johnson, a committed #HeadStart teacher whose dedication to fostering a life-long love of learning is mirrored in millions of teachers (and mothers!) across the country. pic.twitter.com/mNzrbxfqMk— National Head Start Association (@NatlHeadStart) May 13, 2018
She couldn't help but admit, "I'm a different person today than I was the day before she died." But even though she desperately misses her, one thing that comforts her is knowing that her mother lived a full life. The actress added, "I know she had a great life so I can’t be too sad. She had a great time of it. But of course, I’m sad because I really miss her. We didn’t leave anything unsaid." At the time of her grief, she also found solace in having her brother by her side. She said on The View, as quoted by E! Online, "I think I'm just sad sometimes that I think, 'Who will love me the way that she did?' But I realize that my brother and I have each other and so we're OK."
But she lost her brother as well a few years later and having neither her mother nor her sibling to lean on showed her how much she was dependent on them. She said on an installment of Loose Woman, as reported by the Daily Mail, "That's the thing about people when they pass away, you don't realize just how much you depended on them. But they raised you to be independent so she prepared me for this time." The place of a mother, sibling, and other loved ones is irreplaceable in one's life. And you still reminisce about the memories they gave you even years after they're gone. Several years after her mother's death, in 2018, Goldberg admitted that she still thinks about her mother every day.
Thinking about you Ma... every day. Miss you pic.twitter.com/nUvpC8uj8y— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 30, 2018