It’s been just over a week since Jimmy Fallon’s mother, and biggest fan, Gloria Fallon, tragically died on November 4th.
The Tonight Show host abruptly canceled tapings of his talk show last week to spend time with his family and mourn the sudden loss of an amazing woman.
On Monday night, Jimmy returned to late night television with an emotional story about his mother.
“When we were little, my mom would walk us to the store and we would hold hands, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ he tearfully recalls. “Last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her hand and squeezed, ‘I love you.'”
Choking up, he pauses, “I just knew we were in trouble.”
Later in the show, Taylor Swift performed “New Year’s Day,” a song from her new album which was released last Friday. Though it was unintentional, the song immediately became a touching tribute to Gloria Fallon with a verse that sings:
“You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi,
I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road
I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe
Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home.”
Of all the memories Jimmy could have shared about his mother, the one he happened to choose was perfectly echoed by Taylor’s lyrics.
According to Mike DiCenzo, a writer and producer for the Tonight show, Taylor Swift had not been scheduled to perform on Monday night, but had been in town for SNL. They asked her at the last minute to perform on Monday night, and the pop queen didn’t even hesitate.
Mike says that nobody on set had prior knowledge of Jimmy’s childhood memory, and they also didn’t know Taylor’s new song, which was released on her new album, Reputation, just three days prior.
I’m just realizing Taylor didn’t readjust the song’s lyrics for tonight’s performance. But the narrative literally applies to the words Jimmy spoke of his mother. Wow. You can’t plan these things @taylorswift13 @FallonTonight
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) November 14, 2017
“Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you,” Taylor sings later in the song. The whole performance spoke poignantly to Jimmy’s loss. It was stunning.
Hearing the lyrics, Mike says he nearly gasped, and the audience was overcome with emotion—as was Jimmy, who Mike said was sitting at the desk, dabbing his eyes throughout Taylor’s beautiful performance.
She sang “New Year’s Day.” No one had heard it. Suddenly she sings the line, “Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi.” I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing.
— Mike DiCenzo (@mikedicenzo) November 14, 2017
As she finished the song, Jimmy approached Taylor with an emotional embrace that viewers could literally feel through their television sets.
Some may see it as coincidence, but I have no doubt that God orchestrated every piece of Monday night’s show, to bring healing and comfort to Jimmy in this time of grief.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4