"My wife's greatest dream came true today. She is in Heaven. The cancer is gone, the pain has ceased and all her tears are dry. Joey is in the arms of her beloved brother Justin and using her pretty voice to sing for her savior," shared Rory Feek about his terminally ill, beautiful 40-year-old wife, Joey Feek. Joey died around 2:30 p.m. Friday (March 4), with her family gathered around her, holding hands and praying.
"My precious bride breathed her last. And a moment later took her first breath on the other side," proclaimed Rory.
"As I held her hand and kissed her goodbye one last time, I was reminded of another dream of hers that came true. A few months ago through gracious help of Kathy Olen, a friend of ours in Nashville, and many others, I had been sent a short video that Dolly Parton had made for Joey," he wrote.
"From the time she was 4 years old, Joey had been singing Dolly's songs and dreamed of one day meeting her. Coat of Many Colors was a regular part of our show and at home she loved to put on Dolly and listened to "Hello God," "When I Sing For Him," "Me and Little Andy," and many others."
Although Joey never got the chance to meet Parton in-person, and had no idea that Dolly even knew who she was, that situation changed one Friday evening this past November.
Joey's family, Russdriver and I gathered around Joey's bedside to watch the movie "Hope Floats" with her. "But instead of pushing play on the DVD, I pushed play on the video I had received, and we all watched Joey watch. It was the most beautiful moment I have ever been part of," shared Rory.
"Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy," explained Rory. "There have been too many beautiful moments to count or even begin to share in this blog. But I try."
When a person has been through as much pain and struggle as Joey's been through, Rory said one just wants it to be over. "You want them to not have to hurt anymore, more that you want them to stay with you. And so, it makes the hard job of saying goodbye just a little easier."
After four-and-a-half months in Indiana, Rory, 50, said they will soon be back home in Tennessee. "Me, and our little one, with our older daughters. It's hard for me to imagine being there without Joey, but at the same time, it is where she wants us to be. It's where she will be."
Joey's going to be in the mint growing beside their back deck, the sweet-corn frozen in their freezer and a million other places that her hand and heart has touched around our little farmhouse and community, he said. "Joey will still be with us. Everywhere."
"So if it's okay, I'm gonna' close, wipe my tears and pack our bags to hit the road headed south. She's already got a head-start on me."
Born in Alexandria, Indiana, Joey started performing at 6 years old, when she sang Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" in a school talent show. Her love for country music motivated her move to Nashville in 1998. The next few years brought a world of change for Joey, who signed to Sony Records in 2000 and married husband Rory Feek in June 2002, two months after they first met.
Joey's strong family bonds and faith in God were common threads throughout her struggle. "I pray that one morning I just don't wake up," she said in her final interview with The Tennessean. "But I don't fear anything because I'm so close to God and we've talked about it so many times. I know he's close. And I know he loves me. I'm really at peace."