By: Jon Corrigan
It’s been six months since Joey Feek died at age 40, losing a near two year battle with cancer. The country singer’s husband, Rory, is now a single dad for the second time in his life.
Joey didn’t only leave behind the couple’s 2 1/2 daughter Indiana, but she was also a mother figure for Rory’s two daughters, Heidi and Hopie, from a previous relationship.
“When the time came that we realized that Joey was most likely not going to make it through this cancer… one of the hardest things was coming to realize that I was going to be back here again where I was before, but this time raising Indiana,” Rory told PEOPLE.
“[Joey] just couldn’t bear the idea that she was going to leave me a single parent again because I’d already been through it. She told me right on the porch out there,” Rory recalls. “She said, ‘It’s not fair. You’re not supposed to have to do this again.’ I said, ‘But on the other hand, I’m perfect. I already know how.'”
Rory’s tribute film, To Joey, With Love, will premiere in select cities on Sept. 20 and Oct. 6.