Yesterday Rory Feek of the country singing duo Joey + Rory shared that his wife an singing partner Joey Martin Feek is in the very final stages of life after suffering from abdominal cancer and being admitted to hospice care in late 2015. Rory shared the news through his personal blog, This Life I Live, where through this trying time he’s been chronicling the journey he’s taken with Joey, and the couple’s two-year-old daughter Indiana who suffers from Down Syndrome.
Joey has done all she set out to do”¦ even right to the very end, and by sheer will-power (and God’s grace), she was still here to to see our baby’s 2nd birthday. Over the last number of weeks her pain had gotten worse and her health had continued to decline rapidly. And not long after Indy’s birthday my wife decided that ‘enough is enough’. She was ready to stop fighting and she told me so. She said the flowers would soon be blooming back in Tennessee. It’s time to go home.
The interest and compassion for the story of Joey + Rory has transcended country music and the communities of faith to be a story most everyone can find hope and wisdom through, in part because Rory Feek has done a brilliant and dedicated job translating his experiences into word for the rest of the world to read.
Just like the pair’s music is something that is not of this time, but from a by-gone past when love was not sappy, and people understood that you had to slow down to enjoy life, Rory Feek’s lengthy, loving, thought-out, and heartfelt posts are something truly unique. It’s more indicative of sharing your life on the internet from 10 to 15 years ago—before Facebook and Twitter—or even back to the time of hand writing letters, when you compelled people to pay attention to your words by the love and dedication you brought to them, by how much you interacted and paid attention to other people’s words and worries as well, and people were driven by the idea that your journey through life may help others in theirs along the way.
Today, people share their lives in quick snapshots on Twitter and Instagram, and measure their success by how many likes and shares they receive compared to the other people in their feeds. We share our feelings not by expressing them in long thought-out reflection that allows the pondering and questioning of one’s own perspective, but through linking to stories that expresses our feelings for us, usually from a viral website that serves a niche and slanted viewpoint.
Joey + Rory’s music, lives, and soul are of a much richer time, and even before Joey’s Cancer fight, Rory had been keeping such cool and reflective memories in written form for others to ponder and learn from. It’s from the Joey Feek Cancer fight that the interest in Rory’s personal writing has gained international attention. Yesterday when Joey posted his blog about Joey’s final days, the traffic was so high to the post, his little blog crashed for many hours. As the media and the rest of the world scrambled to find out what he had said, it’s doubtful if Rory even noticed the page had gone down. As soon as he clicked “post,” he was back attending to the matters at hand: his wife. Was Joey dead? What were the new details? The media needed to know for their stories.
“It is difficult for me to write this, partly because it seems like everything I write these days ends up as some tragic news story about my wife and her ‘last days’ and the ‘shocking’ new development that has just been shared,” Rory said in his post. “I want to apologize for any sensational headlines that this or any post has created. That has not been my intention. These are just stories”¦ small vignettes from our lives, just like the ones that you and everyone out there are living every day.”
Let’s all take the time to appreciate this for a second: As the entertainment media has made s spectacle of Joey Feek’s terminal condition by posting sensationalized headlines looking to prey on people’s emotions for clicks, likes, and shares, it’s not the media who is apologizing, it is Rory Feek. This is the type of old world, old soul perspective that makes his story, and his words so compelling, and something to be learned from. And at the same time, he still somehow remains grateful.
“I am thankful,” Rory continued. “So very thankful that our story has been shared and shared and shared. Thankful that because it’s being picked up and shared by dozens of news organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals on Facebook and elsewhere, somehow my wife’s life and ultimately her death, might possibly help or encourage someone else somewhere. That this life she’s living might impact the life of someone that she and I will never meet, and never see, at least this side of heaven. That is a good thing. No, that is a great thing. Thank you.”
Rory calls his blogs “…just stories…small vignettes,” but many in the media could learn from the depth of perspective, and passion Rory has brought to sharing his story with the rest of the world. His words have been copied and pasted so many times because so much of today’s media doesn’t know how to post something unless the words are provided by someone else. But in fairness, this has been a difficult story for the media to navigate when “the end” has felt so near so often, and outlets feel the pressure to keep up with other outlets and their daily coverage of the story. But all the public ever needed to stay informed was Rory’s blog.
Soon Joey Feek will be gone, and this tragic story that has gripped thousands for so many months will have its final conclusion. But the story won’t be gone thanks to a few journalists who told the story right, but most importantly because of Rory Feek taking the time to share his journey with such love and passion, knowing he won’t be the last one to walk this path, and his wisdom may help others make this journey in the future.