You can’t help but be inspired today by the strong faith of country and bluegrass singers Joey and Rory Feek. Faced with wife Joey’s debilitating illness–and now, with her impending death–the stars have opened their hearts to the world, sharing their sorrow and their faith.

Joey Feek

Joey Feek

Joey has been struggling with cervical cancer since June 2014, shortly after the birth of her daughter Indiana, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. In 2015 the couple learned that despite surgery and chemotherapy, the cancer had returned, this time in her colon. In November 2015, Rory reported on his blog that Joey’s cancer was terminal and that they were stopping all treatment. The ailing Joey began receiving in-home palliative care.

Joey is not angry with God or depressed. She was, though, disappointed that after undergoing radical gynecological surgery to eradicate the cancer, it had returned as inoperable. In an interview with The Tennesseean, Joey said that she hopes to die peacefully in her sleep, to live to see Christmas 2015 and, if possible, to celebrate her daughter Indiana’s second birthday in February 2016.

Rory Feek

Rory Feek

Rory, for his part, began chronicling their story on his blog THISLIFEILIVE. He has maintained a positive outlook, but in October 2015, he told his fans that his beloved wife will not be getting better, that her illness was terminal. His November 9 post revealed that Joey was beginning hospice care.

And today, January 9, in an emotional post titled “Here I Sit Beside My Dying Wife,” Rory reported that Joey is near death, and is ready to go home. The pain of separation is clear, but both the Feeks demonstrate how a strong faith can help through life’s most difficult moments. Rory writes:

I don’t say those words lightly.  As a matter-of-fact, I haven’t said them at all.  But my beautiful bride has said them to me in these couple of days.  Her pain and discomfort has continued to increase daily and so has the morphine to help her be comfortable.  The dosage she’s needed to keep the pain away has quadrupled in the last four days.

I’d like to tell you that she’s doing great and is going to beat this thing.  But I can’t.

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.

Our ‘make-believe’ song and video seems to be coming true.

Some call it ‘life imitating art’.  I don’t.

I call it God.”

The video to which Rory refers is a plaintive song titled “When I’m Gone.” In the emotional video, a dying Joey comforts her grieving husband, reminding him that after she’s gone, the sun will shine.

Speaking of God, Rory added,

“He knew I would need her to tell me goodbye … not just once, but a thousand times. And I’d need to know that no matter how much time passes, that she loves me still. And He made it so that if I needed to be reminded of her beautiful life and heart and voice … she would only be a ‘click’ away.

Am I angry at the irony of the song? No. How could I be? How many men who are losing the woman they love get a gift like that? None that I know of.

Here is that song.

Cover Image by Burningkarma

[CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons