Joey Feek lost her battle with terminal cancer on Friday, March 4. On Tuesday, Rory Feek laid his beautiful wife to rest on their family farm, and now Rory is opening up about saying his final goodbyes to “the greatest person I have ever known.”
On Sunday, Rory shared a post on his blog, This Life I Live, which he has used to document Joey’s cancer battle since she was diagnosed in May, 2014. In the post, titled “dust to dust,” Feek shared the details of Joey’s emotional funeral service.
“On Tuesday we laid my beautiful wife to rest,” Rory wrote. “In a grove of sassafras trees behind our farmhouse, with friends and family gathered around, we said goodbye to the greatest person I have ever known.”
Joey’s funeral service was held at their barn/concert hall behind their home, where the country music duo put on countless concerts for their fans and family. Rory said the last time he was on that stage was in October when he and Joey were singing together. On Tuesday, however, Rory was alone with a beautiful picture of his bride in the spotlight.
Bill Gaither, a lifelong friend and mentor of the Feeks, spoke highly of Joey, who “saw the beauty in life and also in death.” Gaither and his wife, Gloria, will be holding a memorial service for Joey today at her hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, where Joey and Rory stayed until Joey took her final breath.
The preacher that baptized Joey, and Joey and Rory’s preacher in Tennessee, also spoke about the young mother, who fought a courageous battle with cancer for nearly two years. After Rory’s sister, Marcy, Joey’s best friend, Julie, and their manager, Aaron, spoke, it was Rory’s turn. Through tears, he took to the stage to honor his wife of 15 years.
“When it came my time to speak, I walked up on the stage and stood looking at my wife’s sweet picture … and words were not enough to let her know how much she meant to me – how much she still means to me,” Rory shared. “And when my time was through and I thought I couldn’t cry anymore tears … they played a video celebrating Joey’s life that our friends Daniel and Gabe made. And my tears were replaced by smiles and laughter and joy and more tears. It was so beautiful, set to the song ‘After You’re Gone’ by Iris Dement … a song that Joey loved and requested be played at her service.”
Rory and the rest of the guests then made their way to the cemetery behind their home, as “angelic voices” led a procession singing “Down By The River To Pray.” Joey’s rough-cut wooden box, made by their farm hand, Tim, from the wood on their farm as Joey requested, was pulled by mules in a “1800’s wagon with six of Joey’s favorite ‘cowboys’ by her side.”
Joey Feek’s favorite ‘cowboys’ walk alongside her casket
[Photo via This Live I Live][/caption]
At the grave site, the preacher spoke again, and then all the guests went back to their farmhouse to celebrate Joey’s life.
“And we spent the afternoon a few steps from Joey’s garden, hugging and loving and celebrating the beautiful life she lived,” Rory wrote. “It was an afternoon filled with so much joy and love. Even our little Indiana had a wonderful time.”
After all the guests had gone home, Rory and Indiana took a walk to visit with Joey one more time.
“We stayed awhile and talked with her,” Rory continued. “And then we took a deep breath and did what Joey would want us to do. We remembered that she’s still with us. She’ll always be with us. In our hearts. Forever.”
[Photo via This Life I Live]