If you’re like a lot of us, you’ve followed country singer Joey Feek’s battle with cervical cancer for months now. Moms like us can’t seem to take their eyes off of a story that could so easily be our own. Well, maybe not the part of the story that includes Joey being part of a successful country music duo with her husband, Rory Feek, but definitely the part where a young mom is wishing she could have more time with her three children. That pull of motherhood, that desire to stay with our children as long as they need us, is something ALL moms know. Joey is mother to three girls, young adults Heidi and Hopie, and 18-month-old Indiana.
Last week, Joey entered hospice. Her and Rory’s faith in God through this journey, chronicled on Rory’s blog This Life I Live, has inspired thousands, and continues to do so.
In a blog posted Saturday, Rory introduced us to a new character in their family saga: their faithful friend and tour bus driver, Russell Brisby. He’s been with them for years, and this past week, he had one last special run to make with their bus. He brought a big group of Joey’s dearest friends from Nashville to where she is living out her last days at her mother’s home in Indiana, so that Joey could see some of her most beloved one last time.
Rory says their time was brief but blessed. The final goodbye, especially powerful.
“Before everyone left to head back out to the bus… we helped Joey out into the living room – she wanted to tell everyone one more goodbye. Her friends gathered around her on the couch and she told them of her hope that she might be able to still be here for Christmas, or for Indiana’s 2nd birthday in February.
Joey’s hope never fades. No amount of pain or medicine can touch it.
It runs too deep. It’s connected to her faith in God. And as she will tell you, God can do anything.
Then we all held hands and said a prayer, and put our hands together with Joey’s.”
It’s not just her friends on that tour bus that were precious cargo. Rory also shared what else was on the bus, and it broke my heart.
In addition to Joey’s loved ones, the bus also carried her coffin.
Rory explained that Joey’s wish was for their dear friend Thomas to make her coffin. He says:
“So Joey told me to reach out to him [Thomas] and share one of her last requests with him. Through tears, he got out his saws and hammer and did what she asked. A rough-cut wooden box with a cross on it was placed beneath the bay of the bus and brought up here because that’s what Joey wants. ‘Thomas to make my box… simple, from wood at the farm’, she said. ‘And find a good spot in the family cemetery in the field behind our house, where we put your mama’s ashes last year… with room enough beside my headstone for you to join me someday… in God’s time'”.
A simple last wish from an extraordinary woman, fulfilled by a devoted friend. I can’t imagine the heartbreak he felt as he crafted the coffin for a young mom he knows and loves so well.
Joey and Rory, we are praying for you, and we hope and pray with you with a faith that like yours, is rooted in love and belief for a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine.