This past weekend, Rory Feek returned to his late wife Joey's hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, to attend a memorial service held by the community. On Friday, the country singer shared some memories and photos from the touching trip.
"We took one final tour-bus ride home," Rory wrote on his website, thislifeIlive.com, where he chronicled his wife's battle with terminal cancer until she died on March 4. "To Joey's town. To grieve with and celebrate with the people in her community. And to lift up one of their own with tears and joy and songs and speeches."
Joey was buried on the Feek's family farm in Pottsville, Tennessee, on March 10, but Rory and the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Indiana, made the journey back to her hometown to attend the memorial. The public service was held in Joey's high school gymnasium and featured speeches and performances from the country singer's friends and family.
"A few minutes before, as Indy was still napping, I sat in the back hallway of the bus and did my best to come up with a few words to say… to thank this town and to lift up my beautiful bride and this community," Rory recalled of the service, which was hosted by gospel singers and friends of the family Bill and Gloria Gaither. "After I spoke, Indy and I stood and watched a video honoring her mama. It was hard and beautiful to watch at the same time. The whole day was so special. Thank you to everyone who was there and to everyone who wished they could be there with us. Like me, I know my wife would've found a way to see the beauty in this sad day."
The 49-year-old country singer was thankful for the hospitality of his wife's hometown, where the couple stayed while Joey was in hospice care.
"I never paid for a piece of pizza while we were there the past five months. Or an oil change. Or hardly even a meal at a restaurant. I've been hugged by cashiers at Home Depot and had people cry in my arms in the produce aisle of the grocery store. I've had waitresses pray with me in restaurants and neighbors drop off home cooked meals day-and-night to the house we were staying in," he remembered. "People just want to help. They feel your hurt and want to share your pain. They made something hard, a little easier."
In the post, Rory also took the opportunity to thank all the fans that have followed the couple's heartbreaking journey from Joey's diagnosis, to their first GRAMMY nomination, to Indiana's second birthday, and finally, Joey's death at 40.
"Sometimes I think the internet is a big scary place. A place where only dark things happen and the worst in people and life get lifted up," Rory wrote. "But I don't think that way anymore. I think the internet is also a place where people can come together and share their hopes and their fears. A great big beautiful community of strangers… struggling, hurting, celebrating and needing each other. A great big, small town. Our town."