Joey and Rory Feek were a love story that everyone was rooting for. The gospel singers were extremely strong in their faith, and loved sharing their success with fans. The couple were married for 10 years before welcoming their beautiful daughter, Indiana, into the world.
Indy for short, their little girl was full of life and laughter, even though she had Down Syndrome. The couple made sure that Indy grew up without boundaries, never being held back because of her disability.
Sadly, just two years after Indy's birth, her mother Joey passed away from a lengthy battle with cervical cancer.
"I'd like to think that Joey is proud of how I'm doing – how we're all doing, especially Indiana," Feek has said in the past. "She took so much pride in the work of being a mama to Indy, and I find myself thinking of her every day, all day long in the time that Indy and I spend together and the things we do, wondering how she would handle this, or do that."
After Joey's passing, Rory had one thing to focus on...his daughter Indy. He put all his time and attention into his little girl and making sure she knew how much both her parents love her, even if one was no longer around.
Being a full-time single parent is never easy, especially when caring for a child with special needs, but as you watch them grow and learn, everything seems worth it. That couldn't be more true for Rory, who posted a beautiful message from Indy on Father's Day.
It may not seem like a lot, but for four-year-old Indiana and her father, it means the world.
Of course, this is not Feek's first Father's Day. In fact, it's been more than 30 years of celebration for the former Marine. He has two daughters from a prior marriage, Hopie and Heidi, whom he still keeps in touch with regularly.
But just because he's been a father for a long time, doesn't mean it's any easier for Feek.
Last week, he opened up about how he struggled with accepting that his daughter Hopie was gay. Just days after Joey's passing, Rory and Hopie were having a conversation when the long-time dad knew something was up.
“I said, ‘Just tell me, Hopie,’” Feek recalled. “And she went on to tell me that her friend Wendy was more than her friend, that Wendy and [she] had been dating for almost a year. And that she was in love.”
Feek recalled the panic he saw in his daughter's eyes after she revealed her secret.
“Even more than that,” Feek said, “she’s asking me, ‘Are you still going to love me?’ And my first reaction, honestly, was I don’t think so. Because my conservative Christian faith that saved me – the first reaction is that challenges that immensely.”
But after the initial shock wore off, Feek knew there was only one right way to react.
“Am I supposed to shun my child now and say, ‘No, you can’t be in my life until you come around to thinking like I’m thinking’?” Feek questioned. “The only thing I try to keep in mind is it’s her life, it’s her choice, it’s her faith, and my job is to love her even when it’s hard.”
It's clear that Rory Feek has changed from his troubled past, and has become an amazing father to every single one of his children.