It is quite sad when a young man loses his wife and a young family stripped of its main caregiver.
When Rory Feek’s wife passed away he was in a state of anguish. He had lost a wonderful companion and his daughter had lost a great mom. In the six months after his wife, Joey, died, he had been doing all he could to ensure grief did not consume him and his young daughter, Indiana. He wanted to be there for her and to help her transition smoothly into a life without her mother.
He was also suddenly a single parent and he wanted to do his best for his daughter. He knew she needed him now more than ever. Joey had fought a long, agonizing but brave battle with cancer. Their family and friends had been at hand to help and support them throughout the painful ordeal.
The couple had needed all the help they could get during that trying time. When Joey died, messages of condolences and encouragement had streamed in from these loved ones in attempts to comfort Rory. He was so heartbroken at her passing. Despite his deep grief, he knew he had to be strong for his daughter.
He is therefore focused on bringing her up with Joey’s spirit in mind. He believes she is guiding him through his parenting responsibilities. He has big shoes to fill as he is now a single parent. But he chose to be brave and show his daughter that she can get through the challenges of life.
He knows she wholly looks up to him and he needs to set a good example in all circumstances.
On top of his new and time demanding responsibilities, he has had to face people who make unkind comments about his daughter. Indy, as he fondly calls her, has Down syndrome and these unkind souls have been vocal in claiming that she was a ‘mistake.’ It is unfortunate that there are people who are so ignorant of the fact that children like Indy can lead a perfectly normal life despite the condition.
Whenever such people see a child with Down syndrome they quickly resort to mean comments. But these people cannot bring Rory down. He knows his daughter is a wonderful blessing from God, like all other children. He loves her so much. He decided to honor his daughter through a touching post in his blog: This Life I Live.
He wants the world to know how special she is to him. In the post, Rory begins by saying that God does not make any mistakes. He acknowledges that Indiana is different. But he knows that being different does not make her any less of a child than any other.
He has had the opportunity to interact with many of the children at Indiana’s school, High Hopes, in the past few months and has observed that indeed they are not less. They are just like other kids. They have different shapes and sizes. They learn at different speeds. Some are quiet and others quite vocal. There are those who walk and crawl earlier and there are those like his daughter, who take their time. But one thing is sure; they are all a blessing from God.
Rory believes that they are gifts from heaven above, just like all other children. He remembers all the statistics that he and his late wife, Joey, have come across in the last two years. The statistics revealed that between 70 – 90% of pregnant mothers that get tested and find out that their unborn child has down-syndrome abort the baby.
He and his wife had been appalled at this. It was heartbreaking to think that all those unborn children would not be given a chance. His heart still breaks when he thinks about it though. He says that he understands why the mothers opt for such a drastic measure.
Children with Down syndrome have long been painted as ‘mistakes’. He knows from personal experience that they are not. He knows that Indiana is a gift. When she was born and he and his wife first held her in their arms, one thing was clear: she was the child that God wanted them to have. They believed it and they were right. They embraced their daughter as the blessing that she was.
Rory cannot picture Joey missing out on the opportunity of being Indy’s mother. The two years that she had with their daughter brought her so much happiness and love. He believes it was all part of a divine plan. Joey experienced so much joy in those two years. Indiana was her gift from God. And now Rory believes she is his gift.
She has given him a reason to smile in the midst of the distress of losing his wife. She is the joy in a family that was thrust into anguish. He does not know how he could bear it all without her. She gives him hope every day. Instead of wallowing in sadness, he enjoys being her parent. Rory knows that in the beginning, parents may see their child and he/she is not as they expected. But if they give themselves to loving and caring for the child, they will soon make another discovery. They will realize that the child is not less.
In fact, the child proves to be more. These children bring in more wonder, more precious times and become more significant in their parents’ lives and stories. These children add more value than expected. Rory concludes his post by writing that: God does not make mistakes.