Maybe chick flicks make you tear up (especially at this emotionally tumultuous time of year), but the open letter country singer Rory Feek has recently written will give you something that’s worth crying about.
The letter lays out Rory’s Valentine’s Day game plan, as he calls it.
“What I really want to do on this, our 14th Valentines together, is share a romantic candle-lit dinner with my bride: grill out rib-eyes on the campfire back home, pour two glasses of red wine and sit across from her at our kitchen table – just like we’ve done on more than one special occasion. But those things aren’t able to happen this year.”
Both Joey and Rory have not been to their Tennessee farmhouse since October, due to Joey needing to stay in a more medically accessible location. Also, Joey cannot eat much and sleeps most of the day. So Rory has better plan.
“[My] hope this year instead is to hold her hand and take her on a ‘virtual’ walk down memory lane together… with pictures and videos on my laptop. I want to take her back to where our lives first began together, and relive this beautiful journey that God has taken us on… from that first song she heard me sing at the Bluebird cafe, to the last one we sang together as we stood on stage and took our final bow… to the songs that she will leave behind here on earth and the ones she will soon sing for eternity to our sweet Lord in that heavenly choir up yonder.”
Rory and his wife Joey were well-known long before Joey discovered that she had cancer in 2014. The country singer duo is loved for their music as well as their love story.
When they first met, Rory was a Nashville songwriter and a father of two (daughters Heidi and Hopie). One evening, he sang at a songwriter’s night at a local restaurant, the Bluebird Cafe. Who was the dark-haired, brown eyed woman listening to him in the audience? That’s right: Joey Martin.
The couple married in 2002 and went on to star in the television show Can You Duet?, after which they signed with Vanguard Records and released their first single, “Cheater, Cheater”, in 2008. The song soon made No. 30 on the Billboard music charts. Later that year, Joey and Rory were featured in a touching commercial for Overstock.
In 2014, the couple welcomed their first child, Indiana, who was born with Down Syndrome. Four months later, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
After a radical hysterectomy, the doctors thought that Joey was fine and would not need radiation or chemo therapy. But in June 2015 they found that the cancer was back and it was worse. Rory, who is always amazed by Joey, said in a blog post that his wife never gave up: just because life got difficult, she worked and worked to keep doing the things that mattered to her.
“There are many things that are very important to my wife, and those things never change, they never waver. Not through good times or bad times, not through tears or joy. She knows what the good stuff in life is and she reaches for it and pushes away the things that don’t matter. She’s always been this way. I wish I was more like her… and that it came easy to me. I have to work at it. It’s just part of her… like breathing air, or loving Indy.”
Eventually, after trying chemo for a while, Joey called it quits. Since then, she has focused on making her time left on earth matter. She’s family-minded and worries more about Rory and Indiana than she does about herself.
The community forming around Joey and Rory and supporting them during this difficult time is stunning. Numerous stars and singers have shared their love, tears and prayers with the couple.
As for Rory and Joey themselves, they’re pulling through. It’s a hard road, but they lean on their faith and their family, trusting that everything happens for a reason. And Rory is still just as much in love with Joey as he was fourteen years ago.
“She might look different to you. But not to me. Yes, she’s a few years older and the chemo and radiation have taken their toll on her physical body. But the same joy in her spirit and the same beautiful smile is still there, shining through. Cancer can’t take that away from her.”
According to The Inquisitr, their final album, Hymns That Are Important To Us, was released on February 12 for purchase at Cracker Barrel stores nationwide.
[Image by Richard Vogel/AP Images]