Monday (March 4) marks eight years since Joey Feek's death in 2016. In a blog post, her widower Rory reflected on all the changes that have transpired in that time — and everything that hasn't changed a bit.

"In some ways, it feels as if nothing's changed since that day in 2016, but in other ways, it feels like everything has. But the truth is, it's a little of both," the country singer and homesteader writes.

"This year in particular, as I reflect on the beautiful story that God gave us together, and the new one that he began writing when she was gone," he continues, "I'm reminded in particular of another story that both she and I read long ago, and loved."

That story, Love Comes Softly, was a series of books by Janette Oke, and was adapted into a made-for-television movie that first aired in 2003 on the Hallmark Channel. The plot follows a young couple living in pioneer days, who are split apart when the husband dies tragically and leaves his wife grieving. She accepts a marriage proposal out of necessity, but slowly, she and her new husband realize that they have fallen in love.

"... In spite of what they think they want or need, love finds its way back into their life," Feek writes. "Not in the way they experienced it before, but back into their life just the same, and they are so thankful."

Related: Hear Rory Feek + Dolly Parton Sing 'One Angel,' a Tribute to Joey

It's no surprise that that story rings especially true to Feek on this year's anniversary of his wife's death: He recently shared with followers that he's found love again. Feek is now in a relationship with a woman named Rebecca, whom he met when she began working as a schoolteacher at the schoolhouse on his property.

Among the children Rebecca teaches there is Feek and Joey's 10-year-old daughter Indiana, who was just two at the time of Joey's death. Part of his ability to love Rebecca, Feek explained when he shared his news, is the love and understanding she shows Indy. As someone who lost her own mother and sister to cancer, Rebecca also understands firsthand the grief and loss that Feek's family experienced.

"She has been very patient and respectful of the love Joey and I had, of what I felt and still feel for Joey," Feek continues. "She never pushes, never pries, never once asks for more than today together. And that has been part of what's made me love her like I do."

In the same blog post, Feek shared that before her death, Joey encouraged him to love again one day. At the time, he admits, he wasn't even interested in entertaining the possibility. For quite a while after her death, he didn't believe it would be possible for him to love anybody else.

Looking back on those difficult conversations now, though, Feek realizes that Joey understood something he hadn't yet grasped: "That love is bigger than time. Bigger than fear," he says. "That love doesn't have to end, for it to begin again."

How Did Joey Feek Die?

  • Joey Feek, one half of the country duo Joey + Rory, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. At the time, the couple's daughter Indy was just four months old.
  • She underwent surgery, but the following summer, she and her husband Rory revealed the devastating news that the cancer had returned and was Stage 4.
  • In 2015, Joey fought her disease with extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Tragically, nothing worked to stop the spread of the cancer, and in October, she decided to stop treatment.
  • Joey Feek died on March 4, 2016. She was 40 years old.

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Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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