As she mourns the death of her TV mom Florence Henderson, Maureen McCormick writes an exclusive article for Closer Weekly in her memory, sharing her last words with the star whom she considered family.

“Our relationship deepened as the years went on, and I really felt so close to her the last time we had dinner alone, last month,” she writes of her Brady Bunch costar. “It was interesting — I felt more motherly toward her than anything, and I wanted to make sure she was going to be OK. I never wanted to let her go.”

“I remember holding her hand and talking, and I was able to tell her how much I loved her and how much I wanted to thank her for all of the love, support and kindness she’d always given me,” she confides to Closer.

florence henderson maureen mccormick
Closer Weekly

A recent text conversation between Florence and Maureen.

Maureen shares that her connection with her felt “deeper than ever” the last time they were able to see each other. “I think that’s because as you get older you truly realize who the most special people in your life are. I also think that’s why I was so overwhelmed with emotion the last time we met for dinner.”

MORE: The Brady Bunch Kids Pay Tribute to TV Mom Florence Henderson Following Her Death

Even when they didn’t have time to meet, Maureen tells Closer that they chatted often over text message. “Yes, Florence was the best texter, and I’ll never erase any that she sent me. I’ll keep reading them over and over and over,” Maureen says. “A recent one is my favorite. She wrote, ‘Get some rest! Mother’s orders!’ and it still brings a smile to my face.”

For the full story on Florence and Maureen, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

closer cover

For more exclusive news from Closer Weekly, be sure to sign up for our newsletter!