As Rory Feek comes up on the eighth anniversary of his wife and musical partner Joey's death, he had some joyful news to share with fans: He has found love again.

Feek is now in a relationship with a teacher named Rebecca, whom he's known peripherally for about five years, as she has been a teacher to his daughter Indiana (Indy) and a group of other children at the one-room school house on the Feek property. But over the past year, the singer explains in a blog post, he and Rebecca began spending more time together, and love blossomed.

"And little by little, the more time Indy and I have spent with Rebecca, the more she has come to mean to us," Feek explains. "Though it has arrived differently than I might have imagined, if I could have even imagined it at all, love has come into my life again."

He also emphasized how important it was to him that any new prospective mate be able to love and care for Indy, who turned 10 years old earlier this month. Indy was just two when her mother died in March 2016, and has never really known her mom. As Indy's teacher, Rebecca's love and care for the children she works with has long shown through — and she has a special set of circumstances that make her understanding of the Feek family's particular situation.

"Although Rebecca was married before, she shared that God had never blessed her with the ability to have children. So when she applied, a part of me hoped that if she started working at the schoolhouse, perhaps in some way, these could be her children and help fulfill the incredible void for children of her own that has always been in her heart and life," Feek reflected.

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

He also shared that cancer — the illness that claimed Joey's life — has impacted people close to Rebecca, too.

"She cared for, and lost, both her sister and her mother to cancer," he added.

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Though it has taken Feek several years to feel comfortable finding love with a new partner, he is confident that he's not betraying the bond he shared with Joey. In fact, before her death, his late wife encouraged him to be open to loving somebody new one day.

He ended his blog post by sharing a story from late 2015, after Joey decided to stop treatment and allow her cancer to take its course. Feek recalls her crying with anger and telling him that she was angry on his behalf, about all the work she was leaving to him as a single father.

Feek reassured his wife that he'd be all right.

"And then as if that wasn't already hard enough, she looked at me and said, 'If I don't make it...I want you to love again.' Now it was me who was angry. I told her, 'I don't want to hear that.' But she gently held my hand and told me, 'I want you to. You'll need someone. You and Indy both will,'" he recalls.

"I think she knew then, what it would take me years to learn. That love is bigger than time. Bigger than fear," he concludes. "That love doesn't have to end for it to begin again. And so it has."

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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