News of the matriarch's passing was made public on TMZ after a family member shared it on social media. Vernita was 83.
On Instagram, Oprah confirmed the loss with a heartfelt statement saying that her mom had lived a good life and was now at peace. She shared a photo of Vernita surrounded by family.
Oprah's last moments with her mom
And in an exclusive interview with People, the media icon is talking about how she first found out that Vernita was not going to make it. She had gotten a call from her sister, Patricia while preparing to launch Michelle Obama's book, Becoming.
So, she paid her mom a surprise visit in Milwaukee before going to Chicago and returned to spend time with her right after the launch.
According to Oprah, Vernita knew that these were her last moments.
I had a conversation with her about what that felt like, what it felt like to be near the end. I started telling all the people who cared about her that, ‘She knows it’s the end, so, if you want to say goodbye, you should come and say goodbye.
She adds that her mom felt surrounded by love and describes saying her final goodbye:
I stood in the doorway and I said, ‘goodbye.’ I knew it was going to be the last time we said goodbye, although I didn’t say to her, ‘This is the last time I’m going to say goodbye'.
Their difficult relationship
Oprah and her mom famously had a difficult relationship before they found healing. She has been open about the disillusion that came from being forced to sleep outside at 6 when she went to live with her mom who worked as a maid at the time.
This affected how she felt about the older woman for years. It's great to see that they had a beautiful relationship before Vernita's death.