Andrew Garfield’s mother, Lynn Garfield, died of pancreatic cancer in 2019, and while joining The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, the actor talked about honoring her in his latest film, Tick, Tick, Boom!, in a powerful message about living with grief.

During the episode, Garfield discussed how he carries the grief of losing his mother with him every day, but he’s happy to talk about it because it reminds him of how much love he had for her. 

“This is all the unexpressed love, the grief that will remain with us until we pass, because we never get enough time with each other, right,” Garfield said. “No matter if someone lives until their 60, 15, or 99, so I hope this grief stays with me because it’s all the unexpressed love that I didn’t get to tell her, and I told her every day, we all told her every day. She was the best of us.”

When discussing how this love translated into Tick, Tick, Boom!, Garfield said that playing a character like Johnathon Larson, who passed away before his time as well, felt like a way to express his love for his mother through his art.

“So, for me, I was able to step into this in a way where I could honor this incredible life of Johnathon Larson, and he was taken far too soon,” he said. “He died at the age of 35 on the night of the first preview of Rent off Broadway of the New York City workshop in some strange twist of fate that he was taken that soon.”

Ultimately, Garfield said that he was thankful for the opportunity to play the role because he was able to honor his mother through his art.

You can check out the entire clip from Garfield’s appearance on Late Night up top.