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Rory Feek Remembers Life with Joey

Grammy-winning country music star Rory Feek looks back on his life and career with his wife Joey. Read Transcript


TERRY MEEUWSEN: Together, Rory and Joey Feek

released seven studio albums, earned a Grammy,

collaborated with some of the biggest names in country music,

and along the way they showed the world the power of love

through adversity.

REPORTER: In 2013, country music songwriter Rory Feek

and his wife Joey shot a music video for a song they loved,

called "When I'm Gone."

In the video, they painted a picture of a world

where Joey passes away and Rory is alone.

They had no idea that storyline would come true in real life.

In 2014, after giving birth to their daughter,

Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Two years later doctors weren't giving them

much hope for her survival.

In his book This Life I Live, Rory shares their love story

that touched millions along the way,

and how his greatest joy and greatest pain

are wrapped up in one terrible, beautiful thing.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Well, Rory Feek is with us now.

And we welcome you to the show.

RORY FEEK: Thank you.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: I want to talk about your book and about

your story, and about Joey.

And it's been a little over a year

now since she went to be with Jesus.

But how did you meet?

What was the beginning for you?

RORY FEEK: She met me before I met her.

She was at a songwriter's night at the Bluebird

Cafe in Nashville, and she saw me performing.

I didn't know it at the time, but she had sort of

had this feeling, this moment, where

she knew that we were going to spend the rest of our lives

together.

Now, we didn't meet for two years after that.

But one of the first things she ever said was that.

She said, "We're going to spend the rest of our lives

together."

TERRY MEEUWSEN: That had to be a little startling, because she

kind of laid that on you.

RORY FEEK: I was used to trying to chase someone like that.

I'm in overalls.

So that's proof there was a God.

So yeah, it was amazing.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: What did you love the most about her?

I know there were many things.

But if you had to choose a quality about Joey

that was just extraordinary for you.

RORY FEEK: Well, she was very beautiful.

But the person inside was 10 times more beautiful

than on the outside.

There's a lot of good folks out there,

but she was incredibly special, all the way through.

From the beginning I met her until the very end,

she was also rock solid.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: She had a life in her,

it seemed, that just sparkled.

I read your book.

It was really Joey who got you involved in social media,

in the beginning, right?

She wanted you to write a blog about life as you all knew it?

RORY FEEK: Sort of, yeah.

I was always trying to champion her

and she was always championing me.

And so when we took a year off from music

because we were going to have a baby,

she encouraged me to start writing a blog,

since I wasn't writing songs or anything.

And so I don't even think she knew what a blog was.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: But she wanted you to write one.

RORY FEEK: She knew that I wanted to document this story.

I believed God was going to give us a great story.

She believed that too, and we were going to capture it.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Boy, he really did.

And it was through social media that people really

followed your battle with cancer together.

And that people were so touched and so moved by that.

How did Joey's faith impact you and your faith?

RORY FEEK: When I met Joey, I was at the beginning

of growing a faith.

I tell people I wanted to be with an extraordinary woman,

but it turned out I needed to be an extraordinary man before He

would give me one.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Oh that we would all understand that.

RORY FEEK: It took a long, long, long time.

And so when she came into my life,

she just continued to inspire me every day by her choices.

Most of them were less, you know what I mean?

She knew how to cut through all the noise.

And she knew what mattered.

And it helped me understand what mattered.

And also, of course, all the way through to the very end,

for her to have the faith she had

when our dreams are coming true, and music is doing

so well, that's one thing.

But then when you have all of those tragedies,

and you still have the same faith, maybe stronger,

that's a different thing.

So it was hard not to be inspired by her.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Talk a little bit

about the video that you all did, "When I'm Gone,"

because it really became almost prophetic.

You say life imitating art, but talk about how that happened.

RORY FEEK: My wife had a friend who

wrote a song that we recorded-- named Sandy Lawrence-- called

"When I'm Gone" about a man whose wife passed away

and he was left without her.

And we recorded the song.

It was very special.

And we ended up making a music video at our farm.

And although I was nervous about doing it,

it was reimagining as if as if Joey wasn't with me,

and I was having to go on without her.

And so we made a music video that

came true about two years later, every word of it.

The only difference is rather than being left alone

at the farm, I had a two-year-old.

I have a three-year-old now.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You have a three-year-old now,

who is absolutely precious.

And I know it was such a, not a surprise in your life, exactly,

but Joey for a long time didn't want children.

And so here you wind up with this beautiful little girl.

How did she change your lives?

RORY FEEK: Well when I met Joey, she loved God so much.

But there was one thing that she was not

going to give Him control over, and that was having a baby.

She trusted Him with everything except for that.

And I had a feeling that was going

to be the one thing He wanted.

And in the end, she did trust him.

God had been so good to her and to us.

You just said, "I can't hold anything from Him."

And so, we had a baby.

And then the baby, of course she has Down syndrome.

And so she became a different baby than we thought.

But what happened was what was absolutely

her greatest terrifying fear was her biggest joy.

I mean, biggest joy.

I mean to the very end.

It's unimaginable if she had passed away

and not got to experience that.

What a gift, in spite of--

I wish she could have--

I wish she were here talking to you.

That would be even better.

But she did get to experience something so special.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: In such a picture

of how well God knows us, we think

we know ourselves and we hang on to things that we don't want

to do so tightly, or that we want to do

and don't release to Him, when all along He

knows the joy it will bring.

I mean, it's so interesting, isn't it?

RORY FEEK: It's amazing.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: What do you want people to take away

from the story of you and Joey, and now Indiana,

who is part of her legacy?

RORY FEEK: Joey and I believed, we

believed that God would give us a great story.

And as the book shares, it's been an amazing story.

It's a great story, still, but I think

because I've had such a long journey to get to this seat

next to you, and the altar next to her,

that it's possible for anybody.

That would be an encouraging thing

if people could say this isn't just some perfect story.

It's something everybody could have.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: It's the story of your--

I mean the aptly titled This Life I Live--

but it's the story of your process

to getting where you are today.

And you share it so candidly and so sincerely.

You're a really good writer, not just of songs.

RORY FEEK: Thank you, I appreciate that.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: I hope this won't

be your last book, because I think you have much to say.

And you write it in a way that people can grab hold of

and ingest and go somewhere.

What's the future for you?

RORY FEEK: I'd like to write some more books.

I'm kind of working on some of that.

And then, it's been a year and a few months.

I'm just I'm taking it one day at a time

mostly, concentrating on trying to be a better father

each day and a better friend.

And then also, creatively, what does God

have in store for me, musically or whatever?

I don't know.

I'm in no rush.

It'll reveal itself.

He'll let me know.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You know, time is

something we're all trapped in.

But you seem to have mastered being

able to make it work for you.

And it's just an amazing story.

The subtitle, "One Man's Extraordinary Ordinary Life

and the Woman Who Changed It Forever," But it's

filled with all kinds of truth and inspiration

and challenge for all of us about how to take what God's

given us and live it well.

If you'd like to hear more about Rory and Joey's story,

get this new book.

It's called This Life I Live.

It's available in stores nationwide

and I think you will really enjoy it.

Thanks for being with us today.

RORY FEEK: Thanks for having me here.

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