How Rory Feek Keeps Late Wife Joey's Memory Alive for Daughter Indy: I Hope 'Joey Is Proud of How I'm Doing'

"When I started looking at the footage, she came back to life," Rory tells PEOPLE of the Feeks' home videos

Photo: Hollis Bennett

Rory Feek has made countless adjustments since he lost his late wife Joey to cancer. Now a single father to their 2½-year-old Indiana, he’s taking life day by day while following the blueprint the 40-year-old singer left behind when she died in March.

“I’d like to think that Joey is proud of how I’m doing – how we’re all doing, especially Indiana,” Rory, 51, shares in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “She took so much pride in the work of being a mama to Indy, and I find myself thinking of her every day, all day long in the time that Indy and I spend together and the things we do, wondering how she would handle this, or do that.”

He adds: “I remember how present Joey was and am trying to be that way too.”

Speaking with PEOPLE on the Pottsville, Tennessee, farm he once shared with Joey, Rory is surrounded by reminders of their 14-year marriage and the career they shared as country singing duo Joey+Rory. “I feel my wife’s presence here all the time,” he says while sitting in their bedroom, where her boots remain lined up against the wall and her wedding picture sits on the nightstand.

“We talk about Joey to Indy every day,” says Rory, who plays videos of the couple’s performances for their little girl.

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Rory plans to share his memories of his wife with the world in a loving tribute, To Joey, With Love, in select cities Sept. 20 and Oct. 6. For Rory, editing hours of the Feeks’ home video into a documentary has been therapeutic.

“When I came home and started going through the footage that I had filmed for the last two and a half years, I mostly was elated because it had been such a powerful time over the last four or five months of seeing Joey become less and less and finally pass away,” he explains.

“Those images really were all I could remember and all I could see in my mind. I couldn’t really remember Joey healthy and strong. I couldn’t remember her working in the garden. When I started looking at the footage, she came back to life.”

Now retired from music, Rory hopes to use his film to capture Joey’s legacy of love.

“I hope the world remembers my wife for the extraordinary, ordinary woman she was,” he says. “She was filled with love and light and joy and hope, and faith in a greater story than just the one that should could see with her own eyes.”

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