When I'm Gone: A Reflection on Joey Feek

You may have been following the story of Joey Martin Feek, part of the infamous country duet of Joey + Rory. After a long struggle with terminal cervical cancer, Joey passed away at the age of 40, leaving behind a two-year old daughter and her husband.

Joey was diagnosed back in 2014 and wasn’t a stranger of disabilities as they were close to her heart.  Her daughter Indiana, was born with Down Syndrome. During the birth, doctors uncovered her cervical cancer and Joey was entrenched in a battle the past two years. She finally stopped treatments last Fall and returned to her home to spend the rest of her life.

The artist felt had no regrets and did everything she wanted to do and lived her life the way she always wanted to live. Her one desire was to see her daughter's second birthday in February which she accomplished and finally decided that the pain was too much to continue.  She said goodbye to her loved ones a few days ago for the final time.

Throughout Joey’s life, she was surrounded by loved ones and supported her to the very end.  You can read more about the strength and support the Joey had on the blog This Life I Live.  We wish everyone out there who is struggling with terminal cancer could receive the same.  Throughout the United States, there are many individuals who battle in their struggle alone.

 When I first started my career, I counseled terminally-ill cancer patients at the VA Medical Center in Brockton, MA as part of the Into the Streets program at Stonehill College. It was a commitment on both sides comforting someone who is struggling to fight for life. As a heart-wrenching experience, I found it difficult to give them the tools to continue on and as we built the relationship, found it even more difficult to see them go away in the end. If you can and have the strength to, find a way to support your local VA and see if there's a way you can volunteer. Even something as simple as knitting a scarf or writing a letter makes someone's life.

Now on the flip side, I work for NTI helping individuals who are in remission get back to work again. Honestly, it’s stressful at times, but overall an extremely rewarding experience.  The best part about the job is working with a candidate to get them a position. Quite a few of our candidates are forgotten and others are discarded in from the workforce as they strive to be a part again.  At one time they might have been a Director of Marketing, a Manager or a Programmer.  However, a disease, like cancer took away their career and left a 5 to 10 year gap in the resume. After remission and recovery, we are honored that they come to NTI looking for help to get back into the workforce once again. Just like any other job search, you have to work hard to get the job, we just make it more accessible by working with our clients to manage expectations. In the end, it’s so rewarding to hear the excitement in their voices when they say, that they “got the job” and even more rewarding when they write to us to tell us how they are doing.

There is life after cancer in the hearts of those who are lost and those who stay behind.  There are those who want to help and just need to understand how they can help in this world.  Your actions make the world a better place so bring comfort to others and make the world like Joey, a life to love and live.

As an endnote, I thought I would leave you with song written by Grammy Award nominees Joey + Rory, which may have been a premonition back in 2012 called When I’m Gone.  

Mike Sanders is the Director of Marketing for NTI. In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups. In his spare time, he helps build the lives of others because it is the right thing to do.

#cancer #cancerawareness #awareness #vamedical #veterans #vets #hope #love #inspiration #country #countrymusic #joeyfeek #joeyrory #cervicalcancer #endometriosis #terminal #death #sad #sadness #tears #counseling #psychology #internship #downsyndrome #birth #grammyawards #duo #duet #disability


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