A Story of Life, Love, and Hope That Never Dies
90 minutes , with Spanish and English subtitles for the hearing impaired
Provident Films 2016
(affiliate links used in this post)
To Joey, with Love is the intimate, authentic, and transparent story of a couple who met head on two of life’s most difficult challenges- a special needs child and a terminal illness. Rory produced the film because he believed their story needed to be remembered, documented and shared.
Joey and Rory Feek had a successful career as a country music singing duo and a happy 12 year marriage when they decided to take a year off to have a baby. For many years Joey had been afraid to have a baby,fearing she would not be a good mother.
Her pregnancy progressed normally and culminated in a planned at home birth attended by a midwife.Sudden complications forced a trip to a hospital where both mother and baby were stabilized and in no immediate danger.
Unfortunately, the doctors and nurses told Joey and Rory that their much anticipated child had a problem- their new baby girl had Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome.
Indie’s challenge- Down Syndrome
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions-
- congenital heart defects,
- respiratory and hearing problems,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- childhood leukemia and
- thyroid conditions.
Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
Here are more Down Syndrome Facts
Joey’s challenge-Cervical cancer
A few months after their baby Indiana’s birth, Joey faced the recurrence of cervical cancer diagnosed and treated years before. Despite more surgery, radiation and chemo the cancer persisted until further treatments were futile and and likely to cause more suffering. Joey decided to leave their Nashville farm,her horses, chickens and gardens, to move home to Indiana to spend her remaining time with her extended family.
Faced with the persistence of the cancer
“Joey decided to come home-not to die, but to live.”
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the narrow opening into the uterus from the vagina. More than 12,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 of women will die.
Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide, but because it develops over time, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer since the widespread use of the Pap test to detect cervical abnormalities leads to early treatment.
Cancer of the cervix tends to occur during midlife. Half of the women diagnosed with the disease are between 35 and 55 years of age. It rarely affects women under age 20, and approximately 20 percent of diagnoses are women older than 65. Women should ask their doctor how often and for how long they should continue having Pap smears.
The National Cervical Cancer Coalition provides this overview of cervical cancer treatment. overview of cervical cancer treatment
In 2014 Rory Feek started sharing their lives in a blog and on Facebook which is where I first learned about them. In his “About” , Rory writes
“My name is Rory. I want to live a great story. I want to be a better man. I film. I write. I show up. God does the rest…”
Rory kept writing. Eventually, he shared the entire story on the blog, which also lead to his book by the same name, and eventually the movie.
This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life, and the Woman Who Changed It Forever
“In This Life I Live, Rory Feek helps us not only to connect more fully to his and Joey’s story but also to our own journeys. He shows what can happen when we are fully open in life’s key moments, whether when meeting our life companion or tackling an unexpected tragedy. He also gives never-before-revealed details on their life together and what he calls “the long goodbye,” the blessing of being able to know that life is going to end and taking advantage of it. Rory shows how we are all actually there already and how we can learn to live that way every day.” (Amazon review)