Pulling her daughter into her arms and planting a kiss on her sweet little face, Joey Feek savoured every moment of the embrace. You see, this wasn’t the usual goodnight kiss: this mum knew it could be the last time she sees her little girl.
“…you be a big girl for your papa… and… mama will be watching over you,” she whispered. But there was no way Indiana, 2, who has Down’s syndrome, could have understood.
So her dad Rory took a picture to capture the precious moment.
The American country singer was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in May 2014 – just months after giving birth to her daughter – and underwent a radical hysterectomy to treat it that summer.
But in June 2015 the disease returned as stage 4 cancer and not even surgery could stop the spread.
In October she told fans that she was stopping treatment and doctors gave her 6 to 9 months to live.
Soon after, the couple who make up the country singing duo Joey + Rory received a Grammy Award nomination for best country duo/group performance.
The video song they were nominated for ‘If I Needed You’ shows the story of how Indiana was born…
Living to see her daughter’s 2nd birthday
But even though she knew her time was limited, there was one thing Joey was determined to stay alive to see – her daughter’s 2nd birthday in February.
Writing on his blog, Rory said: “When Joey woke up, a little before noon, I came in to see her… and tears were flowing down her face. Again, I put my arms around her and asked, ‘Why are you crying honey?’…
“‘We made it…’, she softly answered. ‘We made it.’
Family gathered at the hospice where Joey is staying for the special day and it looks like Indiana had a great time.
After making the milestone, Joey has taken a turn for the worse.
“My wife has been asleep for days now and her body is shutting down quickly,” he updated his blog. “The hospice nurse came again this morning and said Joey will most-likely only be with us for a few more days… at the most.”
But despite the tragedy of her situation, Joey had no regrets.
“One of the last things Joey said before she drifted into the deep sleep she’s been in for a few days now is, ‘I have no regrets… I can honestly say that I have done everything I wanted to do and lived the life I always wanted to live’.
Photos: This Life I Live