The winter months of 2015 and 2016 have been tough ones for Joey + Rory: It was late October when Rory Feek informed fans, via his blog, that his wife's Stage IV cervical cancer was terminal, and it was early November when he revealed that Joey Feek had entered home hospice care. Christmas, Rory Feek's favorite holiday, was bittersweet for the couple, and now, with Joey Feek's favorite season, spring, just around the corner, those bittersweet feelings continue.

As Rory Feek explains in a new blog post, his wife begins preparing for the springtime "months before it actually gets here," specifically as it relates to her garden. Spring "[is] when she feels most alive," Feek explains -- "and this year, in spite of all she's going through ... is no exception."

"In years past, it’s not unusual for me to walk in the house and find our kitchen table completely filled with seed packets, potting soil and egg cartons… and Joey grinning ear-to-ear, truly in her element," Feek recalls. "... She does it because it’s important to her. Planting a garden and raising food that she can feed her family is part of who Joey is. That doesn’t stop just because you have cancer or are stuck in a bed for months-on-end. Life goes on. And what was important, is still important to her.

"... Joey knows what matters most. From the day I met her, I knew that," Feek continues. "She wasn’t like me … where what seemed most important changed from day to day or seemed to shift with what was on my mind or how full my plate was at the time. She knew what was important -- what was really important … down in her heart of hearts. And she acted on it. She still does."

However, for Joey Feek's loved ones, watching her prepare for spring this year is clouded with sadness, because she's preparing for a season she may not see and teaching them how to continue her springtime traditions after she is gone.

"I take notes in my laptop, but I don’t really want to know," Rory Feek says of the lessons he's been receiving from his wife. "Not really. I just want her to be able to be in the garden -- this year and 20 more after it. I want her to be able to weed and water and hoe and harvest, and to be able to can and freeze the fruit of her labor and feel the pride that she’s felt in the past at knowing that 'these sweet potatoes and beans and tomatoes are from our land' … from her hands. That’s what I really want.

"But still, I sit beside her and smile and listen and take notes. And I will keep the garden going. Joey’s garden," Feek adds. "And I’m sure in time, I will learn to love it too. Because she loved it. And part of her will be with us … in every seed we plant, and every vegetable we harvest … and every bite we take."

This year, there's a parallel between Joey Feek's usual springtime activities and the extra things she is doing this year, Rory Feek notes: She is "sowing her seeds -- putting down roots in the soil of our lives and hearts. Getting us ready for something that we can't see right now for the tears in our eyes ..."

"It’s hard for me to believe that there will be life after this cold, hard winter …" Feek says, "and I think Joey knows that."

The husband-and-wife duo are set to release a new album, Hymns That Are Important to Us, on Feb. 14.

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