Craig Strickland’s Widow Recalls Their Final Conversation, Shares Wedding Day Memories
On Thursday (Jan. 7), Helen Strickland told CNN that her final moments with her husband were spent talking and laughing. The couple had just returned from spending time with his family and were together at their apartment, cracking jokes, talking about Harry Potter and making up lyrics about their cat Salem to the tune of "Santa Baby."
As Craig Strickland left for what would turn out to be a fatal hunting trip, "He walked out the door, and he said, 'I love you,' and he blew me a kiss and said, 'I'll talk to you soon,' and he walked out," Helen Strickland recalls.
"God really gave us an opportunity to be happier than we've ever been," she notes. "I mean, those moments -- I can't look back for a single second and say that anything was -- that I would take back anything or that I wish that something had been better."
Since Craig Strickland's death, his wife has been sharing memories of her husband of one year on Instagram, including some personal mementos from their wedding day. On Tuesday (Jan. 5), she posted a video taken during a wedding photo session, and on Wednesday (Jan. 6), she revealed a handwritten note from her husband.
"You are someone that I could never have ever placed in my wildest dreams as becoming my wife," Craig Strickland wrote. "... You make me the happiest man in the world!"
Twenty-nine-year-old Strickland died after he, his 22-year-old friend Chase Morland and Strickland’s dog Sam went for a duck hunt early on Dec. 27, despite severe weather conditions. When Strickland and Morland failed to make contact with their families for 24 hours, a search began for the two missing men. Teams — including members in the air, on land and in sonar-equipped boats — searched a two-mile area of Kaw Lake in Kay County, Okla., before recovering Strickland's body on Monday (Jan. 4).
Morland’s body was recovered on the afternoon of Dec. 28, with Sam found, alive, next to his body. On Dec. 31, search crews discovered footprints, boat marks and dog prints that helped them narrow their search area and find Strickland. A memorial for Strickland has been planned for Jan. 12.
Backroad Anthem began their career in October of 2012. Without Strickland, the band consists of Toby Freeman on vocals and electric guitar, fiddler Eric Dysart, guitarist Josh Bryant, bassist and vocalist Brandon Robold and drummer Isaac Senty. The group has opened for country artists including Chris Young, Gary Allan and Tyler Farr and has said that they intend to continue their career without Strickland.
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