It's been four years since Rory Feek lost his wife, Joey Feek, and Joey + Rory duo partner, but Feek still feels as married as the day they said "I do." Joey passed away after a brave battle with cervical cancer, but Feek still feels her presence with him, all day, every day.
"I still feel like I’m 100 percent married and in a full, regular marriage," Feek told PEOPLE. "The only difference is that she’s just not around, but it’s a funny thing to feel so complete and not have her here. She was such an amazing gift and filled my life so much that she continues to fill it."
The couple's daughter, Indiana, was only a few months old when Joey was diagnosed with cancer, and just 2-years-old when she passed away. The child, who has Down Syndrome, is taught on Feek's expansive farm, located just outside of Nashville, where other children can be educated as well.
"We needed to come up with another plan since Joey wasn’t going to be able to homeschool Indy," Feek said, adding the the one-room schoolhouse is an "amazing opportunity" for his daughter.
One of the last and greatest gifts Joey gave her daughter was to make sure she was fully bonded with her father, even at Joey's expense.
"When my wife passed away, one of the things that really surprised me was that she didn't leave me a to-do list," Feek admitted on the Rachael Ray Show. "In the last few months, she told me, 'I'm going to push the baby away' — who was two — [to] make me greater in the baby's life and her less, because she knew it was going to be a transition. I wouldn’t have done that. I think I would have said, 'You get forever with her; I want all of it right now.' But she had an understanding of the bigger picture."
Feek, who still wears his wedding ring because "she's still wearing hers," is happy and fulfilled, and trying to be the best parent he can for his now 6-year-old daughter.0comments
"We’ve settled into a really wonderful life," he said, adding, "Joey was a lot better at being present than I am, but I’m getting better at it."
Photo Credit: Getty / Mindy Small