Joey Feek of the country music duo Joey and Rory is saying her final goodbyes to her friends and neighbors.
According to a previous report by the Inquisitr, Rory Feek, Joey’s partner and husband, has been documenting Joey’s battle with cervical and colon cancer on his blog This Life I Live for the past year. He has shared touching memories of his wife, and her strength to spend her final days at home with her family, making memories with her 20-month-old daughter Indiana (Indy). Rory has continued to let Joey’s story be told through his words, inspiring and encouraging their fans with her unwavering faith.
Most recently, Rory took to his blog to talk about those people who had been with them, not just through Joey’s battle with cancer, but from the beginning of their career. One person particularly made an impact on their lives, their bus driver Russell Brisb, and Rory explained their connection in a post titled “A Bus Full of Joy.”
Joey and Rory made the decision to hire a bus driver when their careers first took off in 2008. They met with Russell and quickly realized they would not be able to afford him. However, their disappointment did not last long.
— People magazine (@people) November 13, 2015
“As Russell stood up from the table to shake my hand and say goodbye, I looked him in the eyes and said, ‘the truth is… we aren’t looking to hire a bus and a driver, we’re looking for someone to be part of our family. Someone who could help me make sure my wife is okay through all of this,'” Rory wrote. “And a big smile came across Russell’s face as his eyes softened and he said two words… ‘I’m in.'”
Since that day, Russell had been there every step of the way, and has become part of Joey and Rory’s family.
“He has been beside us every step of the way of this beautiful music career we’ve got to experience over the last eight years… and is still with us now, doing what he does – making sure me and Miss Joey have everything we need to live and love and do things our way,” wrote Rory.
Even when the duo decided they were no longer going to tour, and would instead be hosting performances in their barn, Russell stayed to help, painting lines on the gravel road, taking pictures, and introducing Joey and Rory before they took the stage. He has always been there for the couple, even through their darkest hours.
“And all this summer when we needed to get my frail wife back home from Atlanta or Chicago after cancer surgery or treatment… he’s used our bus, his bus, or borrowed other people’s buses to make it happen.
“In October, when we stopped treatment and Joey was ready to come up here to Indiana to be with her family and could no longer ride in our Tahoe… Russell got her and Indy situated comfortably on a bus in our drive-way and carefully avoided every pothole from from Nashville to Indianapolis, because he loves her. He loves us.”
So, when Joey decided she wanted to say goodbye to a few special people, including her 80-year-old neighbor Miss Joan, who can’t drive, Russell came to the rescue. He loaded his bus with those who wanted to say their final goodbyes to Joey and drove them to her home.
“There was cowboy Jack Lawrence who taught Joey how to rope… and his wife Sandy, who worked at the horse-vet clinic with Joey and wrote the song ‘When I’m Gone’… and Danny Smith, the very first customer at Marcy Jo’s, who saw that Joey and Marcy were sweating to death in the kitchen and showed up a few days later with a window air-conditioner he bought from Lowes… ” Rory wrote.
The others who arrived were Miss Joan’s daughter Jan, who would babysit Indy when they performed in their barn. Good friend Stephanie Black, who was there for Joey before she gave birth to Indy, also arrived to visit with her sweet friend.
“And our neighbors Gabe & Mandy McCauley, who have a special needs child and first ones who didn’t say ‘I’m so sorry’ and instead told us that we just ‘won the lottery’ when our baby with almond eyes was born… and William Olen and his wife Kathy who are long-time music business friends who just last night helped me make Joey biggest dream come true (that’s another story for another post)… and our farm hand Thomas.”
Joey’s neighbors and friends arrived at her home and were met by Rory, who told them she was asleep and gave them a health update. When Joey finally woke up, she was thrilled to see so many people coming to see her. Although she was groggy from the morphine, Joey spent time with her friends who had made the trip to tell her goodbye. She told Rory later that it was like a dream, “a sweet dream.”
— SoundsLikeNashville (@SoundsLikeNash) November 14, 2015
Speaking of their farm hand Thomas, Rory revealed that Joey had asked a special request of him, something that he wouldn’t be able to deny her no matter how hard it was. Joey asked Thomas if he would make her “box” out of farm wood.
“Through tears, he got out his saws and hammer and did what she asked,” wrote Rory. “A rough-cut wooden box with a cross on it was placed beneath the bay of the bus and brought up here because that’s what Joey wants. ‘Thomas to make my box… simple, from wood at the farm,’ she said. ‘And find a good spot in the family cemetery in the field behind our house, where we put your mama’s ashes last year… with room enough beside my headstone for you to join me someday… in God’s time.’
[Photo via AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File]