A month before his wife’s passing, Rory Feek and Joey shared memories of some of their favorite places with Joey’s three sisters, and among them was Wyoming and Montana. In early July, to honor his late wife’s wishes to have her family catch a glimpse of the “Big Sky Country” she had reminisced about, he packed everyone up and they headed west.
“On Monday, we got home from spending some time out west in Wyoming and Montana,” Rory shared on his blog on Friday, July 15. “It was a trip that has been planned since last winter. But I didn’t plan it… my wife did.”
After spending their honeymoon in Montana in 2002 Rory penned that the couple, “fell in love with the mountains and the old-west history that runs deep through the land and streams out there,” having made several family trips since. Onec Joey shared her stories of the beautiful countryside and stunning views with her siblings, Rory revealed that his wife “asked me to find a way to take her three sisters and their families out west for the first time this summer,” and so he did.
Rory’s three sister-in-laws Jody, Julie and Jessie packed up their cars and headed to Wyoming while Rory flew in to join them in Jackson Hole. There he and his three daughters Heidi, Indiana and Hopie stayed at one of Joey’s favorite spots, the Spring Creek Ranch taking in the sights and sounds just as Joey had remembered before before journeying north to Red Lodge, Montana.
Friends of the family, Larry and Luann Black opened their incredible log cabin in Red Lodge to the large group without any hesitation after hearing Joey’s request, allowing the family to build wonderful new memories honoring Joey’s adventurous spirit.
So that he and Joey’s family would “always have a way to remember these moments,” Rory compiled a series of snippets from their excursion – a rodeo, fly fishing, a 4th of July parade, and more – into a heartwarming video which you may view below. “Luckily, I took my camera along and put together a few highlights from the trip,” he wrote, “along with Joey singing one of my favorite songs that we recorded together.”
Montana trip 2016 from Hickory Films on Vimeo.
“For all the fun we had… the trip was hard on me. Hard on us all actually. We all wished that Joey was there with us. At the cabin, I would watch Joey’s sisters all playing with their kids and I it broke my heart to know that Joey couldn’t be there to play with Indiana too. And I know that it hurt her sisters too,” Rory opened up in his blog. “But still, we all carried Joey’s memory with us on every mountain we drove up and every trail we walked down.”
Before the family traveled back to their respective homes they carried on the tradition started by the Black’s at their cabin many years before. On the surface of their large dining table they’ve had every guest carve their names before leaving with now “hundreds of names etched in that wood,” Rory wrote. Having visited the same cabin with Joey, Heidi and Indiana in 2011, Rory found where they had signed the table 5 years earlier and had each family carve in their names nearby.
“Like the names and dates that are etched in that table, this trip will be forever etched in each of our hearts,” Rory concluded. “It had been a week to remember – to remember Joey, and smile – because we all knew that somewhere up there, my sweet wife was smiling too… Watching her wish for her sisters come true.”