The beloved country duo Joey+Rory experienced a year that most cannot even begin to imagine. Following the birth of their daughter Indiana, Joey Feek was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Despite taking extreme measures to treat the devastating disease, late last year Joey was told that the cancer was terminal and that nothing more could be done. Joey handled the news with grace and declared she was going to enter hospice care so she could spend her final days with her family and friends. At the time of her terminal diagnosis in October, Joey was told she likely only had a month or two to live. However, she was determined to make it to one last party before her death, her daughter Indiana’s second birthday, which was in February.
In Rory Feek’s blog, This Life I Live, he gave fans a glimpse into the everyday life of Joey as she struggled through her cancer diagnosis, accepted her terminal disease, and lived her life to the fullest until the very end. The Feeks have been very open about their faith and struggles with Joey’s cancer. While Joey and Rory had hoped that God would heal Joey, they note that God had other plans and that they have accepted them. In a blog post from January, Joey was struggling with excessive pain and her morphine was quadrupled to keep her comfortable. At that time, the doting mother and country singer took her beloved husband aside and informed him that she was ready to “go home” to her father in heaven.
“Yesterday with tears in her eyes and mine, Joey held my hand and told me that she has been having serious talks with Jesus. She said she told him that if He’s ready to take her… she’s ready to come home.”
However, God again had other plans. Joey’s final wish was just a little over a month away and there were more surprises in store before the month’s end. In December, Joey+Rory was nominated for a Grammy award. A completely unexpected event as the song nominated “If I Needed You” received very little air play and didn’t even have a formal music video. Instead, the video was created as a celebration of birth for their daughter Indiana. The video featured Joey preparing for the birth of the couple’s only child together.
“Woke my bride up this morning with a baby in my arms and the news that our version of ‘If I Needed You’ was nominated for a Grammy. As her excitement and tears flowed into mine. She said, ‘how can that be?’ The song received no radio airplay … no press … no critical acclaim … and the only music video we made for it was to celebrate the day our little Indiana was born. God is so good.”
The Grammy awards were held on February 16, two days after Indiana Feek’s birthday. If Joey could make it to Indiana’s birthday, she could make it to see the Grammy awards, and she did. With Joey continuing to push through the pain, she began doing something in those final months that most people never even consider, planning her own funeral. Rory Feek has outlined some of Joey’s last wishes including her wish to be buried in a simple wooden casket in a family cemetery on the couple’s farm in Tennessee.
Rory says that Joey’s final wish was to “come home” on a beautiful day and Rory says that she truly did.
“Joey’s one hope was that she could ‘come home’ on a beautiful day… and oh, it was. The daffodils were blooming, the grass was green and sky was bright blue.”
Rory noted that Joey had a number of requests that were granted at her funeral, including the playing of the song “After You’re Gone” which was set to a photo montage of Joey’s extraordinary life which Rory shared with all of her fans.
While Rory says he will miss his wife, he knows she will always be with them in spirit.
“And when most of the guests had gone and the sun was starting to fade, Indy and I took the short walk together into the back field to see her mama one more time. And we stayed awhile and talked with her. 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.”
[Image via This Life I Live]