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The family of country star Joey Feek, who's making the most of her final days while receiving hospice care for stage 4 cervical cancer, opened their home to a Santa Claus with an inspiring story of his own.
Joey's marital and musical partner, Rory, took to their blog to document the holiday cheer they shared with their 22-month-old daughter, Indiana, who has Down syndrome.
"Santa Claus came to our house this evening," reads the introduction to Rory's "Santa baby" blog post, published Saturday. "He was a week early, but right on time."
The visit was particularly timely for 40-year-old Joey, who has been trying to live life to the fullest despite a terminal cancer diagnosis.
After undergoing chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation, she has chosen hospice care over additional treatment.
Offering holiday cheer, friends Dave and Nicole Trudo told the Grammy-nominated duo a box of gifts would arrive "in a special way … and boy, they weren't kidding," Rory wrote. On Friday, accompanied by a "Mrs. Claus," a "real deal" Santa Claus with the "kindest smile and a heart for special babies and [mamas] with no hair" showed up with presents in tow.
Added Rory, "I loved him from the moment I met him."
According to Rory, "Mrs. Claus" chatted with Joey's mom, and Santa sat beside Joey to talk with the married couple, not as Santa, but as the man behind Jolly St. Nick. "It turned out our Santa is retired military and used to be in law enforcement — apprehending bad guys," wrote Rory, who did not reveal the civilian names of their costumed guests. "Then sometime after he retired, he found his true calling. Love."
As someone who twice attended "Santa school," this gift-giver travels to bring presents and cheer to everyone from pre-school kids to senior citizens in retirement homes, noted Rory.
"He told us that 'you haven't lived 'til you've found a job that allows you to give something back," he added.
Rory wrote that he was grateful for the "blessing" that was Indiana's first encounter with Santa, whose physical presents, while appreciated, took a back seat to packaging.
"[Our] little baby really only cared about … the big box the presents came in," Rory wrote. "She found a spot in the bubble wrap and paper and just read her books and played 'til she was worn out and ready for bed."
In addition to the visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the couple's weekend updates included a throwback dance video from last year and a seasonal photo of baby Indiana.
"We had a 1940's themed New Years Eve last year in our barn," reads the description of the video posted Saturday. "I dusted off my old uniform and my bride and I cut a rug to some big band music. Hoping for a long sweet slow dance this year."
A Sunday-afternoon photo showcased their bundled-up baby, described in the caption as "Indiana polar bear."
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