A Dad Builds a School for His Little Girl With Down Syndrome After Losing His Beloved Wife
The unpredictability of life can bring both joy and sadness in an instant. Our ability to stay balanced and not let hardships hinder our path is crucial. Rory Feek’s story is a poignant example of how love and faith can guide us through even the toughest of times. As an affectionate father to his daughter, Indiana, who was born with Down syndrome, Rory’s steadfast love has surpassed all limits.
Rory and Joey were a powerful duo, madly in love with each other.
Rory and Joey Feek were a country music duo known as Joey + Rory. They met in 2002, and after 2 years they tied the knot. The duo worked hard to achieve popularity, focusing on various albums. Among them all, the most recognizable is The Life of a Song, for which they won several awards.
As they made the decision to start a family together, they demonstrated the same commitment they had to their job. Joey and Rory welcomed their first child, Indiana Feek, in February 2014. Indiana, who was born in Columbia, Tennessee, was diagnosed with Down syndrome at a very young age.
They documented their journey as parents on their blog and in their music, and they quickly became an inspiration to many. Her caring father, Rory claims that “she just needs love, just like everybody else.” And they truly loved her in the most committed way possible, never making her feel different from anyone else.
Yet, Indiana is not Rory’s only child — before marrying Joey, the singer had already raised his adult children, Hopie and Heidi, from a previous relationship. He says, “My experience raising Indiana is no different than raising Heidi and Hopie. And the thing is, she doesn’t suspect that there’s anything different about her. She has no thought in the world.”
Joey’s battle with cancer.
Life can be unpredictable, and unexpected events or circumstances can disrupt a family’s equilibrium. And life took a turn for the worse with Rory’s family, when, sadly, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. However, with love, patience, and support, they found new ways to create a sense of normalcy and routine for their child, even in the face of that sad diagnosis.
While Joey was undergoing intense treatment, the couple never stopped loving and raising their child to the best of their abilities. This can be particularly challenging for families who have children with special needs, but Joey and Rory devoted themselves to overwhelming Indiana with all the affection and care she deserved.
Rory channeled his grief into becoming a constant source of joy for Indiana.
Joey’s battle with the disease ended in 2016, and at that time her lovely husband Rory wrote: “My wife’s greatest dream came true today. She is in heaven. The cancer is gone. The pain has ceased, and all her tears are dry.”
Coping with that big grief hadn’t been easy for him, but through it all, Rory has remained steadfast in his faith, and he has found comfort in the knowledge that Joey is watching over him and their family. Despite the challenges he has faced, Rory remains positive, and his story is a testament to the power of love, faith, and the resilience of the human spirit.
After Joey passed away, Rory was determined to give Indiana the best life possible. Throughout his journey as a single father, the singer has remained committed to keeping Joey’s memory alive. He usually takes Indiana to visit her mom’s grave, and he often shares touching stories and memories of his wife with his fans and followers.
“I feel just as married and just as in love,” he confessed. “I feel like she’s just as much a part of our life as she was.”
Through his music and his blog, This Life I Live, Rory has inspired countless people with his message of love, hope, and faith. He has shown that even in the darkest of times, there is always light to be found, and that the love of family can help us overcome any obstacle.
Thanks to donations for his wife, Rory built a school for Indiana.
Joey had always wished to homeschool their daughter Indiana, and despite her passing, Rory was determined to fulfill her wish. However, when Rory found himself struggling to balance homeschooling and caring for Indiana on his own, he came up with the idea of building a school on their farm
A parent will go to any length to make their child’s life easier, and that’s exactly what Rory did for Indiana. He wanted Indiana to receive the best education possible, and he knew that a traditional school environment might not be the best fit for her. By building a school on their farm, he was able to provide Indiana with a safe and familiar environment where she could learn and grow at her own pace.
The school, Hardison Mill School, is staffed by a team of experienced educators who work closely with Rory to develop a curriculum that meets Indiana’s needs. It is also open to other children in the community, giving them the opportunity to learn and grow alongside Indiana.
“I stayed for a long time this morning and watched Indiana play with her new friends on their first day of school. And as I watched, I thought of how blessed we are, and how wonderful it is to be part of using our blessing to bless others.”
Rory’s decision to build a school on their farm is a testament to his love and dedication to his daughter, and it is a reflection of his commitment to fulfilling Joey’s wishes, even in her absence. “Indiana’s smile lights up not just the room, but the world,” her father says.
Indiana still remembers her mom.
Even though Indiana was just a baby when Joey passed, her father tells her everything about her mother’s life. Her mother continues to be part of her family’s life, and her memory is very much alive for Indiana.
One day while having lunch, Joey started singing on the radio, and her daughter immediately recognized her voice: “It’s Mama,” Rory recalls his daughter saying. “Indiana is highly aware of her mama, her mama’s voice, and what her mama looks like. She keeps her alive, just like I do.”
Through his writing and music, Rory has kept Joey’s memory alive for their fans and for Indiana, who is now a bright and happy 6-year-old girl. “We’ve settled into a really wonderful life. Both of my sisters live on the farm with us,” says Rory. “Most little girls have a mother. Indiana has a lot of mothers.”
“I used to look at Joey and think, ’How in the world did I get this lucky?’” he recalls. “This morning Indy climbed in bed with me. I just looked at her, and I thought, ’How in the world did I get so lucky to be with such a pretty, sweet, wonderful little one?’”