Country songwriter Rory Feek has always felt the power and love of family, even in the lowest valleys of life. Two years ago, the father and successful country songwriter and artist could hardly look beyond having his morning coffee at the site where his wife, Joey Feek, is buried on the family property in Tennessee. Rory and Joey Feek faced forging a family, successes, and tragedy together. Rory already had a string of successful songs with top-tier country artists, including Collin Raye, Clay Walker, Randy Travis, and Blake Shelton, who reached number one with the song, “Some Beach,” co-written by Feek and Paul Overstreet, in 2004, when he and Joey became Joey + Rory.

Rory and Joey Feek married in 2002, and settled in as a family, with Rory’s two older daughters, Hope and Heidi. In 2008, the couple and singing duo placed third in the CMT competition, “Can You Duet.” For the first time, they became the stars on the stage, and their song “Cheater, Cheater” climbed to No. 30 on the charts, and the contagiously-singable song put the performers forever into Country Music consciousness.

With the news of expecting their first child together, Joey + Rory put their music career on hold for 2014. Only months after welcoming their cherished daughter, Indiana, in February 2014, born with Down’s syndrome, Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After radical surgery, her surgeons were confident that the malignancies were removed.

In July 2015, Joey underwent a second surgery to remove a tumor that had metastasized to her colon, and radiation and chemotherapy were employed to rid her body of tumors that the surgeons could not reach.

By October, the couple announced via blog that Joey’s cancer was terminal, and she made the choice to stop treatment and enjoy as many sweet moments and sunrises with her family and holding Indiana as she could.

She opted for hospice care, and died in March of 2016, just weeks after Indiana's second birthday.

Rory Feek could not imagine his return to the stage when CBS news correspondent Anthony Mason visited two years ago, but on June 17’s “Sunday Morning,” Rory Feek was singing again, and still feels the presence and power of love all around him.

The same love

Reflecting on his return to the stage, Rory confessed that the sensation was “surreal and strange, a little wrong in some ways.” Even in the darkest throes of her treatments, Joey Feek’s warm voice and vibrant faith soothed others while she recorded “Hymns That Are Important to Us,” the couple’s last album, from her treatment room. Feeling the assurance that Joey knows no more pain, and celebrates the joys of her family, it's no wonder that Rory declares that he feels “just as married and just as in love” with Joey “just as much part of our life” as ever, apart from her physical presence.

Indiana is four now, and always ready for a dance on the family porch with Hope, and happy to be her daddy's partner until she gets shy on stage.

Rory Feek describes himself as a “mess” as a father, but one who has learned from the example of Joey and his daughters. “I’m getting better,” he asserts, and Heidi and Hope have always felt the support of their father, even when it wasn't exactly kosher. Heidi was told she had to create a Mother's Day gift in elementary school, so she made an ashtray, inscribed with “Happy Mother's Day, Dad!” Rory keeps it filled with guitar picks to this day. Clearly, Hope dotes on her little sister and doesn't mind her dad sharing from his repertoire of hits. She recalls telling him every song was a hit growing up.

Love above the challenges

Faith sustained Joey through every joy and trial, and Rory verifies that his faith “made it possible to have joy and peace and love” in his life.

Life and faith can be full of challenges, and one of those tested times came for Rory Feek as a father when Hope shared that her friend, Wendy, was more than a friend, and the two were in love. At first, he struggled to contend with his “conservative Christian faith” and the truth of his middle daughter’s life. He came to one overriding conclusion.

“My job is to love her, even when it's hard, even when I disagree, or even when I don't understand, I can still love her. I can still love her completely.” The evidence of that bond of love is apparent in the fact that Hope’s revelation came with the same kitchen table closeness that prevailed with every family communication, and this fall Hope and Wendy will marry on the farm.

Challenges come to every person of faith, and every situation of life, but love is a choice, one that every believer is called to make, even when the challenge is direct opposition, as in Heidi’s decision to declare herself as an atheist.

Only light vanquishes darkness, and love is the only language understandable to every heart, in every need. Music is another language that speaks to every soul, and Rory Feek has learned to translate both in very genuine and powerful terms, as only a father can do.