Rory Feek Gives First Interview After Wife Joey’s Death: ‘I Don’t Understand Everything’

Joey + Rory forever. Rory Feek, in his first interview after the death of his wife, Joey Feek, opened up to Billboard about how he and their 2-year-old daughter, Indiana, have been coping since she passed away at age 40 in March.

"I don't understand everything," the country singer, 51, told the mag. "I don't understand all of the Bible, nor did my wife — but I understand what faith is, and what faith requires. Faith requires faith, and that never really stops. She had a very strong faith, and that never wavered. The same thing with me: Just because things don't work out the way that you hoped they would, doesn't mean that God isn't still in charge. It's still his plans and not ours, so I don't feel like my faith has wavered at all."

While Joey was undergoing chemotherapy for stage IV cervical cancer in the year leading up to her death, the couple recorded their final album, Hymns. "That's what she loved: to sing and make music," Rory recalled. "Hymns was important to her — the only hard part was finding time to do it."

Rory Lee Feek and Joey Martin Feek of Joey + Rory attend the 2011 SESAC Nashville Music Awards.
Rory Lee Feek and Joey Martin Feek of Joey + Rory attend the 2011 SESAC Nashville Music Awards. Jason Kempin/Getty Images

At the time, they didn't think it would be their final project together. "We had unwavering hope, so we never really thought like that," Rory shared. "We did shows every month, all the way through. I knew it was hard for her, but we always treated everything like, 'This is a season, and we're going to get better.' She kept wanting to sing, even when it was hard for her to get on stage. Not because she wanted to make money or get applause, but because she wanted to share her music.” Joey decided to enter hospice care last fall, and died on March 4, 2016.

Her husband detailed their final memories together on his popular blog, This Life I Live, inspiring many fans and readers. "We're just thankful to be a part of something good," he reflected to Billboard. "That's all we ever want to do. In particular, we want to be part of something good in a marriage. We don't want it to just look good on the outside, for our faith to look strong. We want it to be strong — we're always working on that."

Joey Feek and Rory Feek perform during the Tin Pan South festival on April 2, 2013, in Nashville.
Joey Feek and Rory Feek perform during the Tin Pan South festival on April 2, 2013, in Nashville. Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

Rory also shared that hearing the music they've made together has brought him peace. "I listen and watch everything — it's part of the process for me. I don't want to hide from her, or her memory, or those feelings," he said. "I want to embrace them and keep her as close to me as possible."

Joey still remains part of his daily routine — in every way. "Every morning about 5:30, Indiana and I get up, and quite often I play her the Hymns record. Sometimes we'll listen and it'll make us smile. Indiana will do sign language to 'Jesus Loves Me,' just like she would with her mother," Rory revealed. "And then there are other times … I'm making eggs, and emotional, and Indy doesn't quite understand it. But that's part of it — it's OK. I listen to it a lot, actually. I watch through our videos a lot. Being able to watch the videos, she's still alive. Hearing the music, she's still alive."

Joey is survived by her husband, little Indiana, and her two teenage stepdaughters, Heidi and Hopie.

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