A NASCAR favorite opens up to us about the death of his mama Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Michael Waltrip, driver of the #15 Aaron's Toyota, walks on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

This week, Michael Waltrip is not the legendary NASCAR racer or the impressive broadcaster or the unrelenting jokester that everyone loves to see in the garage area.

This week, Michael Waltrip is simply a son mourning the loss of his mama.

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“It’s been a rough week,” Michael said in a recent phone interview with Rare Country. “Every time my phone would vibrate lately, I knew it was something about mom. Now its doesn’t do that, and I’m not quite used to that yet.”

As countless children who have lost their parents can attest, you just never get used to it. But Michael and his family are finding ways to move on following the death of Margaret Waltrip, who passed away July 12 at the age of 90. “She was mainly living for all of us [at the end,]” Michael said quietly about his last visits with her. “She would be there looking out the window watching the birds and seeing the flowers, and I knew that she so wanted to be out there watering her flowers, but she couldn’t. The only good thing about her passing is that I know she is now where she wants to be.”

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Indeed, Michael and his family are people of faith, and firmly believe that Margaret is now residing in heaven with her husband, Leroy Waltrip, who passed away in 2000 after a courageous cancer battle. “I’m going to miss seeing my mom’s face,” he said solemnly. “[There’s no way] I can pay her back for the sacrifices she made to make sure me and my brother [Darrell Waltrip] could race cars.”

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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