She was a woman who loved nothing more than being a mom to her children.

And being a wife to her husband.

And a sister to her siblings.

And an aunt to her nieces and nephews.

And a daughter to her parents.

And a friend to her friends.

And, yes, a beauty reporter to the beauty industry.

Molly Prior Hermann, 41, passed away Saturday, January 26, near her home in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. She is survived by her two sweet sons; her husband, Jason; two sisters; a brother, and her parents. She died peacefully, surrounded by love. Molly was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2017.

I met Molly in 2001 at a beauty trade show; she had just begun covering the beauty beat at Drug Store News, a former role of mine. I was fortunate enough to begin calling her my friend in 2004 when she joined WWD’s beauty team, where I had been working since 2000. Molly became the beauty team’s first Beauty Financial Editor, covering M&A. I immediately felt a bond due to our similar career paths.

Seven years her senior, it makes sense I had the opportunity to experience things first, both personally and professionally. Luckily, I got to share many of Molly’s firsts: her first (blind) date with her husband; her engagement (Jason proposed during one of their weekend runs); her subsequent marriage (with a rainbow making a timely appearance); the birth of both of her boys.

For four of the seven years we worked together, we worked side by side, literally, sharing a 10-foot slab of Formica. To keep our relationship from ever becoming strained, we decided to build a divider between our two work areas by lining up dictionaries, synonym finders, a thesaurus and makeup-, hair- and spa-themed books. We peeked over our divider daily–to chat, to complain, to take a break from the grind.

We had lunch together almost every day. On one occasion, Valentine’s Day, we headed downstairs to the Conde Nast cafeteria (WWD’s parent at the time), where a table offered heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes and bagged red candies. I grabbed a sugar cookie, iced with the words I LOVE YOU. Molly swooned how much my husband would love it. I looked at her blankly and said, it’s for my son!

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

I still have the cookie, it’s in my freezer. It was too much of a symbol of pure joy shared with a friend, for me to let someone eat it.

I don’t think I ever told her that.

We went for manicures every two weeks to Butterfly Studio; she loved a good red nail. She often sought thorough facials, as well as a good face cream to tackle dry spots. We got haircuts together: Warren Tricomi, Bumble and bumble, Frederic Fekkai were our go-to’s. And eventually she joined me in the adventures of root touch ups. She simply loved beauty.

She was predictable. Every day at around 3 o’clock I’d hear crunching coming from the other side of our wall of books. It was Molly eating her daily apple. It’s how I knew how many hours were left in the work day.

On Thursday afternoons, when WWD dedicated Beauty coverage to Fridays, I’d hear the cracking of a Diet Coke can opening: Molly was on deadline. I knew something great was being written, she was gathering something good for her column, Beauty by the Numbers.

I often joked “you have a lot to say”, meaning she tended to write long. So whenever a roundup was assigned to the beauty group—there were five of us at one point—I knew she’d file twice as much as anyone else. I don’t know how she did it.

Molly’s Diet Coke was eventually replaced by a steaming cup of tea. She kept a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and fatty foods. She was not just a runner, but a marathoner. She loved exercising and was a loyal attendee of Barre, Exhale and Physique 57; her quest for toned wedding arms was second to none.

Mission accomplished.

In 2012, I left WWD for CEW. She left in 2015 to freelance. She accepted an offer to write a column for CEW, Beauty’s Bottom Line. We remained friends, as well as colleagues.

While I may have experienced many things before her, Molly was inarguably my mentor. She taught me how to be more objective. She taught me the benefits of being calm rather than being led by emotion. She taught me grace under pressure.

Molly was a very important person to me at some of my most difficult moments. She helped to make sense of returning to work after maternity leave. And she offered a broad shoulder during the first several years of being a mom, when things didn’t go exactly as planned. She pointed out the importance of yin and yang in a marriage, and the invaluable honor of being a loyal sister. Sometimes, she learned, these relationships collided. If there’s one thing I think I taught Molly it was to never talk about a sister riff with the husband. For her, the argument would end as quickly as it started; for him, well, it would take longer.

I will cherish these memories and hold them close and think of them often. And, whenever I see a wedding dress with a belt (yes, Molly found a gorgeous one), I will look up to heaven and think of the most beautiful bride I ever saw.

Beauty reporters are a small, tight-knit group. We typically share a table with magazine beauty editors, our better-coiffed counterparts, at industry events and galas. They have limitless access to hair stylists and makeup artists and fashion closets. Us, not so much, yet Molly out-glammed the sleekest beauty editors of them all. And while reporters must draw a line between themselves and their subject, Molly did so fiercely, but also came away with many friends.

Oh, her two sweet boys.

That’s who I keep coming back to.

Hugh and Wes, seven and four years old, respectively. How does one find peace with losing such a special person, who one day was living and loving life, and within a week was fighting for it, and 17 months later was taken away from the world?

How does one understand the loss of a woman who loved nothing more than being a mom to her children?

And a wife to her husband.

And a sister to her siblings.

And an aunt to her nieces and nephews.

And a daughter to her parents. And a friend to her friends. And, yes, a beauty reporter to the beauty industry. I suppose the answer lies in knowing her children will continue to hear stories about their wonderful, special, smart mama from their father, and close core of relatives for the rest of their lives. They will also have stories to hear about her, until the end of time, from her friends and colleagues. Molly has left her mark on the beauty industry, and surely on everyone who knew her.

I will miss her deeply.