Joey + Rory's Rory Feek says he never meant to make a movie about his wife Joey’s death. He was just making one about her life. Their life. And the life they were going to build when their baby arrived in 2014.
But To Joey, With Love turned into something so much bigger.
It’s Rory’s love letter to his late wife, but it's also the best way to show his young daughter Indiana how much her mother loved her for the first 2 years of her life.
The film -- a one-night event shown nationwide Tuesday night (Sept. 20) -- chronicles what was intended to be the Feeks' year off from the music business. They were planning to homestead and live off the land on their farm south of Nashville.
“Joey and I sing for a living,” Rory explains as he narrates the film. “Some people might even say we are famous.
"When we learned Joey was pregnant, we just knew there was no way our life or our marriage could be any better. And so after much prayer, we decided that we would take the next year off and just spend time at home, getting ready for the baby, simplifying our world and getting connected deeper to the land we lived on."
Rory’s home movies featured in To Joey, With Love takes the viewer through Joey’s pregnancy, Indiana’s Down syndrome diagnosis, Joey’s cervical cancer diagnosis three months after giving birth, her surgeries and aggressive treatments and the everyday moments of the good days and the bad days that followed.
But mostly the good days. Gardening, cooking, praying, recording a hymns album and mothering Indiana with all the love in her heart.
“She continued planting seeds that she knew she would never see harvested," Rory says. "And pouring love into a child she knew she wouldn’t get to watch grow up,”
When Joey started to understand her fate, she chose to travel back to Alexandria, Indiana, where she was raised and her family still lived.
“While she was there, Joey decided it was time to start making plans for Indiana’s future," Rory says. "She handed her to me. And watched as I became greater in the baby’s life, and she became less."
Five months after going back to Indiana, Joey said she was ready to go home. She passed away on March 4, 2016. And she was laid to rest in the cemetery behind their Tennessee farmhouse.
“Though this isn’t the path we would’ve chosen to walk down, it is the path that’s been laid before us. So we put our faith in God, and our hope in a future that we can’t see. We believe that God will give us a great story," Rory says as this story came to an end.
The movie will be in theaters again on Oct. 6.