Rory Feek on Joey: 'I don't feel like she's very far away'

Joey Feek’s death last March at age 40 from cancer, a battle shared on husband Rory Feek's blog, didn’t end their love story.

“It’s strange because she’s been gone a year, but I don’t feel like she’s very far away,” Rory Feek, 51, says during a phone interview from Tennessee. “I didn’t know what I would feel, but I didn’t expect her to be so present — I mean present in my heart, my life and in our daily activities, in our conversations.”

While making breakfast for their daughter Indiana (Indy), who has Down syndrome and turns 3 on Feb. 17, the country musician thinks about how Joey would have done it. When pushing Indy in a stroller on a recent trip to Hawaii, Rory played Joey’s songs on his phone at Indy’s request.

Joey, who married Rory in 2002, is also a great presence in Rory's new memoir, This Life I Live (Thomas Nelson), to be published on Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of their first date.

In it he shares stories of how they met, their engagement, and the time Joey told Rory she thought he was her destiny but said she would likely marry the man she was then dating. He also describes a time before he met Joey when he had a relationship with his friend’s wife and nearly abandoned his two eldest daughters, who he says were just "kids" when he bought a bus ticket one night to "anywhere but here" and nearly committed to "starting a new life." (He got off the bus in Kentucky and came home to Nashville.)

“You have to share the scary parts and the parts when you’ve been not such a good guy,” he says, “and I feel like I was excited to get to share all of those moments, as many as I could.”

The chapters likely to linger in readers' minds, however, are the ones illuminated by Joey’s presence. Rory writes on the first page, “I am famous for loving my wife.” Theirs was a powerful connection, one that overused words like “love” and “soulmate” can’t fully encapsulate, he says. Instead, he describes their connection as “magical.”

“… We’re not just compatible, she’s the other half,” he says. “She’s the better half of me, and I know she would say the same thing for me.”

Nearly a year after Joey’s death, Feek says things feel “exactly the same,” which he attributes to his “amazing” wife and their “beautiful” marriage. “I still feel like I’m still in the middle of it right now, and that’s a wonderful gift.”

While Feek says writing assisted in the grieving process, documenting moments with Joey also helped him remember their time together. The duo dubbed Joey + Rory is nominated for a Grammy this year, which means Rory is on the hook to attend the awards show Sunday because of a promise he made Joey that he was reminded of by his blog.

“I had forgotten that she had (asked me to go) and so I’m so thankful for the blog, that I have those moments to look back on… and the book will be the same way,” he says. “It’s me telling stories that I will have forgotten about, and I will be able to go back (to). Not only will other people see something, hopefully, in those stories that will encourage them, but I will be encouraged again and again and again and again.”

2017 USA Today


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