ALEXANDRIA, Ind., March 20 (UPI) -- Country singer Rory Feek thanked the people of Alexandria, his late wife Joey's hometown in Indiana, for their support during her battle with cancer and subsequent death, as well as for the beautiful memorial they held in her honor.
Feek recalled in his latest This Life I Live blog post how he first traveled to the hamlet with Joey in 2002 and met her family after they had been dating for about two months.
He described how Joey showed him the farmhouse where she grew up, the high school where she studied and the places where she worked.
After asking her father's permission, Rory then proposed to Joey on the side of the road where her 17-year-old brother had been killed in an accident.
"So there we were, in the spot where her she felt her greatest pain. But this time I was the one who knelt, and I asked Joey to marry me. And we both cried. And together we prayed that God might take our broken hearts and our broken pasts and make something truly beautiful of them," Rory wrote.
"And He has. A million times over, He has. We have made a hundred trips back to Indiana since then. But none have been more special to me than the one we took this past Sunday [March 13.] We took one final tour-bus ride home. To Joey's town. To grieve with and celebrate with the people in her community. And to lift up one of their own with tears and joy and songs and speeches."
He went on to call the village: "Joey's town. My town."
"A place that might have seen it's better days, but is striving to make it's best days yet to come. A place where factories have closed their doors and jobs are scarce... where it's values and faith are being challenged at every turn... but it still somehow knows what is most important and shows it to it's children and to strangers that come to visit, like me," he said.
Rory further expressed his gratitude to the friends, neighbors and strangers who wouldn't take money from him for meals or oil changes, and who kindly brought home-cooked meals and other creature comforts to his family during their darkest hours.
"People just want to help. They feel your hurt and want to share your pain. They made something hard, a little easier," he said.
Joey died March 4 at the age of 40. She also left behind a 2-year-old daughter named Indiana.