Country singing duo Joey and Rory Feek brought down the house when they performed “Cheater Cheater” on CMT’s Can You Duet in 2008, but today, Rory’s stage days are a distant memory.
“I don’t have any plans to play or sing,” Rory, 51, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, opening up about life after losing his 40-year-old wife to cancer in March. “People ask me that everywhere I go: ‘Are you writing or singing or are you performing anywhere?'”
The country artist – who was one half of musical act Joey+Rory – says he’s “retired” from music now that his late wife and mother to their 2½-year-old Indiana can no longer perform at his side.
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“When I have something to say and when I feel like I would be okay with saying it without her, then I might play guitar or sing,” he explains, “but I don’t feel that way today.”
Despite the loss, “I feel my wife’s presence here all the time,” Rory shares. “I see her in the dark, she is always here with me.”
Looking forward, Rory plans to stay put at the couple’s farm in Pottsville, Tennessee, where his wife was laid to rest in a wooden box.
“I’ll be right beside my bride out there and the girls will be here loving and taking care of this place,” he says. “That would be nice.”
A man in mourning, Rory says his faith carries him through. And it’s a hallmark of the Feeks’ marriage explored in his new tribute to his beloved wife, To Joey, With Love, in select cities Sept. 20 and Oct. 6.
“I would like to think that life can still go on and still be beautiful in spite of the fact that Joey is not with us, and it is,” he says. “It’s hard, but it’s still beautiful.”