Rory Feek Raises Daughter With Down Syndrome Alone Following Wife’s Death & Cherishes Her Memory

Mar 17, 2023 by apost team

Losing a loved one is never easy. While everyone grieves in their own way, a country music artist has done everything in his power to raise his daughter without his loving wife by his side.

Rory and Joey Feek made up the musical duo Joey + Rory. They were both singers and songwriters, and Rory played acoustic guitar for their music. The happy couple had gotten married back in 2002, six years before they officially entered the music scene as a duo.

Prior to the duo’s formation in 2008, Rory worked as a songwriter for a number of other country artists, including Blake SheltonKenny Chesney and Randy Travis. After auditioning for CMT’s “Can You Duet,” Rory and Joey signed a recording contract and quickly got to work. Together they released seven studio albums, one holiday album and two compilation albums. Receiving great reviews and earning recognition, the married couple continued to play around with their sound and style as they moved forward in the music industry.

On March 4, 2016, Joey passed away after a long battle with cancer. During her battle, Rory updated fans periodically through his blog posts and has since released songs in honor of his late wife. 

Rory did his best to remain strong after his wife, Joey, passed away. The widow and his little girl did not succumb to depression. After Rory's wife lost her battle with cancer, he received many messages of support, and his family and loved ones have been a source of comfort.

He is now raising his daughter, Indiana Feek, all by himself, but Joey’s memory has continued to stay with them both.

Joey Feek, Rory Feek (2010), (Fred Hayes/Getty Images)

After the married couple discovered that Joey’s cancer was terminal, they continued to share the rest of the time they could together and poured their hearts and souls into their final album as a duo. “Hymns That Are Important to Us” was released on Feb. 12, 2016, less than a month before Joey lost her fight with cancer. While undergoing treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Joey had recorded some of her vocals in a room at the hotel she was staying at. The album was well-received and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album in 2017.

“She is in Heaven. The cancer is gone. The pain has ceased. And all her tears are dry,” Rory said after Joey’s passing.

Throughout his wife’s battle with cancer and the grieving process since her death, Rory expressed his thoughts and feelings through his personal blog called This Life I Live. Rory is now raising his daughter Indiana, who has Down syndrome, by himself and documenting their journey on his blog. In it, he shares his experiences raising a child with Down syndrome and aims to show that they are no different from other children. He knows that the job will be daunting without the girl's mother, but he believes that Joey is there in spirit to guide him throughout the journey.

He also pointed out that Indiana’s differences don't make Indiana any less valuable than other children. Her life is just as meaningful as the lives that others lead. Her feelings and dreams are also equally important in childhood as they will be when she's an adult.

Rory Feek (2018), (Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

The country singer made it apparent that he doesn’t believe in terminating a pregnancy if people find out that their baby will be born with Down syndrome. According to Healthline, about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States each year. The number of abortions varies by country, but is anywhere between 67%in the US to nearly 100% in countries like Denmark and Iceland.

Rory has also shared that he would never ask for his daughter to be anything other than herself and that she is completely perfect, exactly the way she is. He shared:

“It has been confirmed that Indiana has Down syndrome. Although that news came at first as a surprise to us, Joey and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We trusted that God would give us the baby He wanted us to have… and He has. Out of all the parents in the world, He has chosen us to care for and raise this special gift. The baby is healthy and doing wonderful and Joey and I are loving each and every minute that we have with her. We can’t wait to see where this new chapter in our lives leads us and what wonderful story unfolds in the coming years.”

Speaking with PEOPLE in 2020, Rory said:

“I think she can be whatever she wants to be, and Joey and I did not know that. She just needs love, just like everybody else.”

Rory added, “Indiana’s smile lights up not just the room, but the world.”

The country singer has two other daughters, Hopie and Heidi, from a previous relationship. However, he explained that raising his youngest, who was born in 2014, is no different than raising his kids in their 30s.

“My experience raising Indiana is no different than raising Heidi and Hopie,” Rory said. “Really, it’s the same. And the thing is, she doesn’t suspect that there’s anything different about her. She has no thought in the world.”

In 2019, Rory went to Instagram to express his gratitude for the “incredible journey” he went on with his family despite having his fair share of hardships along the way. In 2021, he posted a photo of Indiana placing flowers on her late mother’s grave. He captioned the post:

"In May 2014, Joey celebrated her first Mother's Day with our newborn daughter Indiana. It was a beautiful spring morning as she and Indy cuddled in bed together and 'talked' to each other about the future. Today, seven years later, we celebrated it and Joey the best we could without her.... “

And in 2023, Rory expressed how excited he was to see who his daughter will grow up to be and believes they can teach and learn from each other as she grows as he celebrated Indiana’s 9th birthday. On his blog, he wrote:

“Like the mark she’ll put on the yardstick, one day she will make her own mark on the world, just as we all do. And as sad as I am to see her growing up so fast, I’m just as excited to see what God has in store for her."

What do you think about this father's dedication to his daughter? Let us know your thoughts, and pass this story on to your friends and family.

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