This is an edited reblog of a post that I published last year. It received 42 views and was liked by half as many. Unless you were one of the over two million followers on Joey and Rory’s Facebook page, or 253,000 subscribers on YouTube, then you understandably weren’t all that interested.
But Joey’s story, which admittedly was felt deeply within the country music community, extends far beyond that to touch the hearts of people from every walk of life.
It’s the dynamic story of love and courage — the love between husband and wife, mother and child, coupled with the indomitable will to live. It also tested the expectant hope and faith of millions of people who prayed for a happier outcome.
The memorial video I posted last month (seen below) has touched the hearts of so many people from around the world. They don’t know who I am, but they watched the tribute because of their love for Joey Feek. A man from Germany said he and his wife discovered Joey and Rory just one week before she died. Six years later, they still mourn her death. That’s how deeply Joey touched people’s lives — and why I share her story with you on the anniversary of her passing.
In 2012, Joey and Rory recorded a song that was written as a memorial to a friend’s mother. Fate intervened three years later when the song became a prophetic farewell. (Watch the video with tissue paper in hand.)
Rory talks about life after Joey in this 2020 interview with People Magazine.
Reblogged from a previous post …
She was an amazing person, loved by millions of fans.
Joey met Rory at a singer-songwriter event at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tn. Joey told her friends that she was going to marry him.
And she did … in June 2002.
They lived an idyllic life on a working farm in Tennessee. Every morning, Joey would help her sister-in-law (Marcy Jo) prepare breakfast for the customers at Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse in Columbia, Tn. A few of the regulars were Rory and his two daughters. Rory was a single dad when he met Joey.
In the Spring, Joey lovingly prepared the seeds that the couple planted in their self-sustaining garden.
On select weekends, the duo would perform concerts at their farm. Rory has continued the tradition with his daughter Heidi who used to sing backup for Joey and Rory. This year’s concert season begins in April. The summer program features a two-day event in June called the Homestead Festival featuring Kevin Costner.
In 2014, Joey gave birth to Indiana. The baby was born with Down syndrome. She was named Indiana because Joey was born there. She helped Indy develop by teaching her sign language.
After the birth of her child, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Following a successful surgery, she was declared cancer free.
A routine exam in 2015, revealed that the cancer had returned. It was very aggressive. After additional surgery and radical therapy, Rory announced that Joey’s condition was terminal.
She passed away in her hometown, surrounded by family and friends, on March 4, 2016. She was forty years old.
Millions of fans adored her and prayed for her. I wanted to produce a memorial video, but I was too deeply grieved. My mother had recently passed away so I was an emotional wreck.
Some five years later (six years now), and there is a flicker of light in the midst of darkness. They say time heals all wounds. I buried myself in my favorite hobbies — photography and writing. My mother was a writer so to honor her memory, I archived her poetry at The Desert Poet.
Death has caused me to reexamine everything that I once believed. In the Memoriam on my mom’s page are these lyrics from John Denver’s, We Don’t Live Here No More:
Dream of the time when the tides ebbing now, rise again
Then you will know, that to die is not really to end
Living and dying are both your most intimate friends
So empty the ashtray, sweep up the floor
Put a lock on your door
If somebody calls in the morning
Just say we don’t live here no more
On that note, I was able to finally produce the following memorial to Joey Martin Feek. We who knew her, and loved her, still miss her dearly.
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