Joey Feek may be reaching her final days, but the country singer appears to be going out at the high point of her career, with a new album and a major honor in her home state.
The singer, one half of the duo Joey + Rory, has been battling terminal cancer for the last several months and has been in hospice care since late 2015. But as her health continues to fail, Joey Feek has continued on in her career, recording music with husband Rory, and now receiving a top honor.
On Wednesday, her father, Jack Martin, accepted the highest honor the state of Indiana awards, the Sagamore of the Wabash. The award honors those who have made a significant contribution to the state.
“The Sagamore of the Wabash is the highest distinction in Indiana, and it’s an honor to present it to Joey and Rory,” said State Rep. Bruce Borders.
“Important Hoosier values, such as loving others, serving one’s country, following one’s dreams, and showcasing grace and joy during difficult times — have all been exhibited by Joey and Rory. I would like everyone to keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Borders added that Feek’s brave battle with cancer and her grace in the face of hardship has been an inspiration. Her husband has shared many updates from her final months, showing Joey leaning on her faith and spending time with family and friends even as cancer has taken away her strength.
“Throughout her battle with cervical cancer, Joey and Rory have maintained their faith in God, while also providing hope and encouragement to family, friends, and thousands of fans that have been impacted by their blog and social media posts,” Borders said.
At the same time, Joey Feek has released her final album this week, Hymns That Are Important To Us. The album was released on February 12 and is available at Cracker Barrel stores throughout the United States.
Joey Feek almost had a chance to cap off the week with one of music’s biggest honors. She and Rory were nominated for a Grammy award for their rendition of the Townes Van Zandy song “If I Needed You.” Though they ultimately lost, Rory said in an Instagram post that the nomination was “more than enough.”
Rory shared that Joey had actually bought him a plane ticket to attend the Grammy Awards, but he didn’t want to leave her side in Indiana.
“I can’t leave her,” Rory wrote on his blog. “I won’t. I have done many foolish things and made lots of mistakes in my life, but this isn’t going to be one of them.”
But amid the career accomplishments, it was an even more important week personally for Joey Feek. She and Rory celebrated the second birthday for their daughter, Indiana, something that Joey had said for several months that she had been looking forward to.
The family shared pictures of the celebration, which showed Joey with streamers surrounding her bed. The couple noted the significance of the day in a Facebook post, saying “…some birthdays are more than just birthdays. They’re dreams coming true and prayers being answered.”
As her struggle with cancer has taken a toll on her health and even her ability to walk, Joey Feek has stressed the importance of her time with family. She has often used what little strength she has to play with Indiana, and Rory wrote that she often gets emotional when thinking about the girl’s future.
The outlook still looks difficult for Joey Feek, Rory shared, saying that she has been “very fragile” in recent days.
[Image via Instagram]