A dad has shared details of how his wife, country singer Joey Feek – who died of cancer at just 40 years old – prepared their two-year-old daughter for her death.
Joey, who was known for being in the country singing duo Joey + Rory with her husband, was first diagnosed with cancer in May 2014.
The sad news came just three months after the couple welcomed their daughter, Indiana, who was born with Down’s Syndrome.
Her battle with the disease was chronicled by her husband on his blog, This Life I Live, and now Rory has used the same platform to share details of the incredible sacrifice Joey made for her daughter.
In his last blog post, the singer said his daughter Indy hasn’t noticed her mother is around since she past away last month, all because Joey did exactly the opposite of what most parents would do in her situation. Instead of growing closer to her daughter in the last few months before her death, she insisted on distancing herself from her.
‘Indy has not asked for her mama. Not one single time since Joey’s been gone. It’s almost as if she hasn’t noticed that she’s not here. And that is so sad; and oh, so wonderful; all at the same time’, he wrote.
Joey and Indy playing together
And while Joey’s heartbreaking decision – giving up on precious moments with her daughter that she knew she would never get back – might seem incomprehensible for most, she did it because she knew it would make her death a lot easier for Indy.
‘When we first got to Indiana in late October, Joey was Indy’s whole world. Everyone else was; well, just everyone else. Including me. She loved her mama so much and all she wanted was to be with her, beside her or in-sight of her.
‘But in early November, when Joey started to realize that there was a good chance that she might not beat her battle with cancer, she made a decision; he must become greater and I must become less’, Indy’s dad shared on his blog.
Despite her good intentions, Rory says actually doing it was very hard on Joey, as it would be any other mother.
‘She started going against everything in her being that told her; time was short so hold her baby even tighter and longer and more and instead she handed the baby to me, and sat alone in a bed and watched and listened as my relationship with Indy grew and hers lessoned.
‘I still remember the day a few weeks later when I was sitting on the couch near Joey’s bed and Indy was playing on the floor at my feet and Joey looked over at me and said, “she needs you now”. I looked at Joey and saw the look on her face and knew what she meant, and I wanted to cry. But she just smiled and said, “it’s best this way honey”.’
However, despite trying to get her daughter to be less attached to her, Rory says the two still had lots of loving moments together, with Indy sat on her mum’s lap. But unlike previously, she didn’t ‘need’ Joey: ‘Indiana loved her mama; but she wanted me. She needed me.’
In the heartbreaking blog post, which follows months of equally emotional and honest posts on Joey’s battle with cancer, Rory also admires his late wife’s stength, admitting he would probably have taken the ‘easy road’ if it was him and taken advantage of every little moment with his daughter.
‘Who has that kind of strength and character? Not me, that’s for sure’, he wrote about Joey’s decision.
‘I would’ve taken the low, easy road; the one that served me more. I would’ve tried to make the ties with our baby stronger and her love for me deeper so that she wouldn’t forget me; and in the end, probably left our baby wrecked with grief over the loss of the one person she loved and needed most. But not Joey.
‘She let Indy fall more in love with me and less in love with her. She carried the pain on her own shoulders, to try to keep it off of mine. And even more so, off of Indy.’
Even though Indy may not notice her mum’s absence right away, her father also wrote he will make sure she remembers her mother in the future.
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‘She may not realize right now how incredible her mama is, but she will. I have made a career out of documenting our lives, and her mother… with songs and video and pictures and they are everywhere. I will play them for her.
‘And tucked away in her little heart will be all of the beautiful memories of these first two years that she has shared with her mama and when the time is right, she will find them and they will make her smile. Yes she will remember. I believe that.’