Joey+Rory star Joey Feek would have turned 45 years old on Wednesday (Sept. 9). She would have been there to wake up her little girl, Indiana Feek and help her pick an outfit out for her first day of school, and she would have watched as her daughter grabbed her backpack and confidently walked into that little red and white schoolhouse.

But Feek died from cancer from cancer in March of 2016, at the age of 40, leaving behind Indy and her husband and duo partner Rory Feek, who has taken on the role of single parent. He tries to raise Indy the way they would have wanted to do it together.

"Yesterday was not only her Mama’s birthday, it was also Indiana's very first day to be in first grade," Rory Feek shares on his Instagram page on Sept. 10, alongside photos from Indy's first day.

The six-year-old is beaming as she stands in front of the school — which is on the family's fam in Tennessee — eager to get inside.

"It was opening day at the schoolhouse with some of her friends returning this year, and lots of new faces and friends to get to know," the singer shares. "There are new 'big kid' desks in the classroom and all the kiddos have cute little uniforms this year."

The photos — of Indy at her desk, surrounded by friends, and parents in the classroom — are a light on what was undoubtedly a painful day for Rory Feek.

"While our little one slept and the sun rose this morning, I prayed and walked my way through the clouds to the wooden cross where you rest," he remarks in another Instagram post, this one shared on Joey's birthday. The video shows her final resting place, her burial plot on the family's farm.

"To wish you happy birthday and tell you once more — three times more… I love you, I love you, I love you," he adds.

Through the years, Rory Feek has seemingly found a way to both experience the sadness over Joey's loss while also celebrating the successes of little Indiana, who was born with Down syndrome. Earlier this year, the singer-songwriter released a new children’s book The Day God Made You, inspired by his little girl.

See Joey + Rory's Sweetest Pictures

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