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Dear Joey and Rory: Your Life Is a Song

If you’re a fan of country music, or an Indiana resident, you may have heard about the story of Joey and Rory Feek. They’re a husband and wife country duo that burst onto the national scene in 2008 after competing on CMT’s ‘Can You Duet?’ Since then, they have written numerous country and gospel albums and won the Academy of Country Music’s “Top New Vocal Duo” award in 2010. Rory has two adult daughters, Heidi and Hope, and the couple has a 21-month-old named Indiana.


Photo courtesy of Joey+Rory on Instagram.

Joey Feek has been battling Stage 4 cervical cancer. In June of this year, it was announced that her cancer had returned. She recently underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the doctors told them there is nothing more medicine can do. So they made the decision to end her treatments and she is now in hospice care, spending her time with family in her hometown of Alexandria, IN.

As a fan of Joey and Rory’s, I have been following their journey, especially over the last few months, through Rory’s blog “This Life I Live”. It has been amazing to see their courage through this whole journey and the eloquence with which Rory talks about such a difficult situation. But his blog isn’t just about the sad parts of Joey’s illness. In fact, it’s the opposite. With every blog, Rory somehow finds the strength to be more inspiring to others, even if he doesn’t realize it.

The whole time during this heartbreaking journey, I have felt that I wanted to help in some way. Through cards, food, gifts, or even just a kind embrace, people from their local communities, and all across the country have already been helping Joey and Rory. But as I read each new blog Rory posted, the thought of finding some way to lend my support was still in the back of my mind.

So I decided to give the gift of words.

Dear Joey and Rory,

Written, spoken or sung, there is an amazing power in words. They can change your attitude, perspective, and even provide inspiration and strength.

It is my hope that these words can be a small gift to you in return for all of the powerful words you have shared with the world, and the words that inspired me to write this letter. It might not seem like much, but if it can provide even just a small smile to help brighten your day, I will feel like I’ve helped in some way.

A couple of weeks ago, the day after the town of Alexandria and the entire country music community held a nationwide prayer vigil in Joey’s honor, I decided to turn on Spotify and listen to your music.  

After coming to your page, I hit shuffle and the first song that started playing was “The Life of a Song.”

I stopped instantly. I had never heard this song, but I was in pure awe as I listened to the words.

Me, I’m just a singer, though I may be well-known.
The truth is I’d be nothing without the power of a song.
I’ve been blessed with fame and fortune, oh but in the end
A song’s what I wish I could’ve been.

A song lives forever and never, ever dies.
Sings enemies together and touches so many lives.
Words and melody will always be long after we’re gone…
Oh, how I wish I could live the life of a song.

I could mend the broke and wounded, I could prove that love is real.
And take someone from China to a Carolina cotton field.
I could comfort every soldier, hum all the homeless home…
I could change the world if I was just a song.

A song lives forever and never, ever dies.
Sings enemies together and touches so many lives.
Words and melody will always be long after we’re gone…
Oh, how I wish I could live the life of a song.

There’s an end for me, it’s my destiny.
But this song will carry on…and it’s just three minutes long.
Oh, how I wish I could live the life of a song.
Oh, how I wish I could live the life of a song.

Even though this song was published in 2008, all I could think after listening to it is how true the words were for what you’re going through today. But there’s one major difference. From where I’m sitting, you are already living the life of a song. Your song.

Your music has touched so many lives and your ability to tell your story through song is simply astonishing. No matter what happens and when your end actually comes, (even though I hope it’s a long time from now) have comfort in knowing that you have been doing what you were put here on Earth to do…writing and performing these inspirational songs to make a difference in this world and help the rest of us. And as the lyrics say above, your song will carry on forever.

Even though God has his timing for everything, it is my wish that you can continue to be here on Earth and make music for many years to come. This morning, I was on Facebook and came across your latest blog about Christmas time. Christmas is also one of my favorite times of year and your words brought me back to some of the great Christmas memories I’ve had over the years.

After I finished reading, I continued to scroll down the page and happened to come across this clip from the Ellen Degeneres Show. A 16-year-old girl from Toledo, OH was battling ovarian cancer and performed Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” during a talent show. Ellen saw this clip and brought her on the show, where she actually performed the song with Rachel live.

Joey, I couldn’t help but think of you during their entire performance. Through Rory’s eyes, I have been able to see how strong you are, but sometimes we all need a little “fight song” to get us through things. I hope this can give you a little added strength and inspiration as you continue on this journey.

Please know that I am praying for you both and hope you have a wonderful Christmas.




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