In a blog post on his website, This Life I Live, Rory wrote about his experience as a single father to eldest daughters Heidi and Hope before he meet Joey.
“I can’t tell you I was a great father,” he wrote. “I tried. I think was a good father, but the truth is I was still a young man struggling to find myself, while the girls were growing and finding out who they were. I made so many mistakes and was so selfish. At times I was more concerned about being a great songwriter than being a great father. In a lot of ways, I think the girls raised me while I was raising them. But they were so forgiving and loved me unconditionally. They still do.”
Of course, Rory later met Joey and she acted as a step-mother to Heidi and Hope, who are both now in their late 20s. In February 2014, Rory and Joey welcomed daughter Indiana. However, their baby joy was short-lived as Joey soon learned that she had incurable cervical cancer.
“When Joey and I found out that the treatments weren’t working and that more-than-likely, she wasn’t going to live to see another spring… Joey sat beside me on a glider on our back deck and cried and cried,” Rory wrote. “But not because of the news that the cancer had spread and there was nothing more the doctors could do. She cried because Indy was going to lose her mama, and I was going to be a single father again.
“Joey knew how hard it had been for us for all those years before she came along and she was upset that she was going to leave me in the same situation,” he continued. “I remember her tears falling and her saying, ‘I don’t want you to have to raise a child again by yourself… it’s not fair.’ Though I was worried about the reality of what was probably in our future, I tried to smile as I wiped Joey’s tears and said, ‘It’s okay honey … now we know why God chose me to be with you.’
“I realized then that God knew what was in store and all those years by myself with the girls was Him preparing me for the job of caring for Indiana”.
“Though my beautiful wife sleeps in a bed of clover behind our farmhouse, we still celebrate her on this special day and lift her up and give her flowers,” Rory wrote. “This is not my day. It is hers. Joey loved being a mother more than anything else in the world. And she is still Indy’s mama. And Heidi’s and Hopie’s.”
Rory has mostly shied away from the spotlight since Joey passes away, but he did recently open up in his first interview since the passing of his wife and country music partner.
“Just because things don’t work out the way that you hoped they would, doesn’t mean that God isn’t still in charge,” he told Billboard earlier this week. “It’s still his plans and not ours, so I don’t feel like my faith has wavered at all.”