When country singer Rory Feek lost his wife to cancer, he turned to his blog site to express his reflections on life after loss, and single parenthood, with the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Indiana, or “Indy,” as Rory calls her. The little girl has Down syndrome.
One of Rory’s posts became such a powerful defense of his daughter’s value in response to those who balked at her diagnosis that the post went viral. “God doesn’t make mistakes,” he said.
Rory, 55, and his singer wife, Joey, shared a 14-year marriage. They sang together as the celebrated country music outfit Joey + Rory. Tragically, Joey lost her life to cervical cancer in March 4, 2016, at the age of 40.
Rory spent the summer of 2016 caring for then-toddler Indy on their 100-acre farm in Tennessee and working on a documentary, “To Joey, With Love.”
The grieving husband and father also composed a moving blog post, titled Crib Notes, about finding strength and comfort in Indy after losing his wife. Rory paid tribute to his toddler for proving the naysayers wrong.
“As I sit down to write this morning, Indiana is stirring in her crib. She is starting the process of waking up and beginning her day,” Rory shared. “Watching her sit up, look around, then roll back over, and listening to her talk to herself and her hands, I’m reminded what a gift she is.”
When Joey and Rory first learned that Indy had Down syndrome, they were unsure what the diagnosis would entail, both for themselves and for their daughter. To make matters worse, the reactions they received from others were less than positive.
“[A]lmost everyone said the same thing: ‘I’m so sorry,’” Rory wrote.
“I didn’t and don’t think anything negative about their responses. I probably would’ve said the same thing in their shoes,” he explained, adding, “It’s what society has told them, told all of us … But it’s wrong. At least I think it is. And I know Joey did too.”
“God doesn’t make mistakes,” Rory added. “Indiana is not less than any other child. Different is not less. Having Down syndrome doesn’t make her life any less meaningful than someone else’s or her dreams or feelings any less important.”
He and his wife had learned some shocking statistics; he recalled learning that somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of pregnant women whose babies test positive for Down syndrome pursue termination rather than follow through with their pregnancies.
Rory explained that he couldn’t imagine Joey not having had two precious years with her beloved daughter. Indy brought her mother “love and happiness,” he wrote, adding, “God knew that. He made it so.”
Rory has three daughters: already grown are Heidi and Hopie, and 6-year-old Indy. He continues to chronicle his journey through life, strife, love, and laughter as a single father on his blog to this day.
“Indy has Down syndrome,” Rory writes in his bio. “I think Hopie has up syndrome (she’s always happy), and Heidi’s got flower and music syndrome (she’s an aspiring flower farmer and singer/songwriter).
“All my children are good and perfect gifts from above.”
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