Everyone in my entire family was saddened to hear that Dale Jr.’s mom, Brenda Jackson, passed away today. I have a short story about her that I’ve shared before and wanted to share again if only to give a small glimpse into what a kind, giving person she was.

In the winter of 2007, I had just moved to North Carolina, and been there three or four months, tops. I was 23. Not that I wasn’t old enough to be out on my own, but it was the first time my mom and dad were thousands of miles away.

Right after the racing season ended, I got sick. Only I didn’t just get a little sick. I got near-death sick. Two days went by where I was almost literally dead to the world, just laid up in my townhouse.

It got to the point where I needed someone to take me to the hospital.

A friend called Dale Jr., and his stepfather, Willie Jackson, answered. He came by and took me to Urgent Care, and when I got there, I started going into convulsions.

Then I passed out. I was really, really sick.

When I woke up, it took me a minute to get my bearings. I was in the house of Dale Jr.’s mom. Turned out I’d had a horrible case of the flu, and if Willie hadn’t shown up when he did, there was a good chance I might have died in my townhome.

The hospital was too nervous to send me home alone, so Brenda and Willie took care of me at their home for four or five days, until I was finally strong enough to recover on my own. Brenda cooked and got clothes for me as if I was her own son.

To this day, I’m incredibly grateful to her (and Willie) for taking care of me.

The world has lost a wonderful person. She will truly be missed.