The first in a wide-ranging series I’m calling Beautiful Something Saturdays. Basically, I’ll look outward for something touching or uplifting to share with you on a Saturday morning. I’ll try to make it the sort of thing a person might want to look at over coffee.
Rory and Joey Feek are a married singing duo. Right now, that singing duo bit is not the most important part. The most important part is that Rory and Joey Feek are a couple still radiantly in love after more than a decade together, a couple that has made a beautiful, bucolic life for themselves on a Tennessee farm, a couple whose life with their bubbly young daughter with Down syndrome has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of people.
And right now, Joey Feek is dying.
The reason we know all this is that Rory, a sentimental songwriter with a goodly number of hits to his credit, has taken on the writing task of his life with a blog called This Life I Live. Starting in January 2014, he began documenting their lives just before the arrival of little Indiana. He documented their learning and coming to terms with the fact that Indiana has Down syndrome. He documented what their life with Indiana looked like through those early months.
Then, in a heartbreaking turn, he began documenting Joey’s diagnosis. All the twists and turns of cancer treatment. Hard times and difficult conversations, recounted always with a deep admiration – an unabashed wonder, really – at Joey’s seemingly otherworldly grace and strength in taking everything in stride. Making the most of each day, for as many days as she has left.
Through it all, how Joey and Indiana never ceased to light each other up.
Now Rory is documenting what seem to be Joey’s final days: The hospice bed facing a window, looking out at the yard in her home state of Indiana.
Theirs has been a beautiful, heartbreaking journey. And This Life I Live – their record of that journey – has been a beautiful, heartbreaking gift.
(As it happens, Joey has lived to see the release of their final album together. It came out yesterday. It’s a collection of hymns, a gift recorded in between cancer treatments. They even managed to shoot an accompanying concert special, just before a downturn in Joey’s health would have made such a thing impossible. That quirk of timing is a gift, too. One week later and this might not exist.)