Helen Strickland reveals last texts with husband Craig a year after he was found dead in emotional tribute


Helen Strickland is paying tribute to her beloved husband, Craig Strickland, a year after his death.

The late country singer and his friend Chase Morland were reported missing last December after going on a duck hunting trip in Oklahoma with Craig's dog, Sam. Although Sam survived, both Chase and Craig were later found dead. Craig, the lead singer of local Arkansas band Backroad Anthem, was 29 years old.

"I remember receiving these last texts from him before talking for the last time on the phone -- I'm so thankful God gave me the blessing of getting to say and hear the words 'I love you' to/from him just moments before he and Chase got in their 10ft flat bottom boat,'" Helen Instagrammed on Wednesday, Jan. 4, the one-year anniversary of when her husband was found dead. "It was truly such a blessing the day we found Craig. We were finally able to find some kind of peace knowing he was with his Heavenly Father."

WATCH: Craig Strickland's Widow Writes Heartbreaking Note to Singer on Their Wedding Anniversary

Helen's last texts with Craig included a picture of her cuddling with Sam, which Craig called "precious." The 27-year-old former Miss Arkansas USA, who married Craig in November 2014, is relying on her faith to help her through her loss.

14 PHOTOS
Country star Craig Strickland found dead after hunting trip
See Gallery
Country star Craig Strickland found dead after hunting trip

Craig Strickland and Chase Morland

(Photo via Facebook)

In case we don't come back, @BackroadCRAIG and I are going right through Winter Storm Goliath to kill ducks in Oklahoma. 😅 #IntoTheStorm

Chase Morland and Craig Strickland

(Photo via Facebook)

Thank you so much @kristinathomasphotography for sending these beautiful pictures of us. I am crying because they make my heart so full of love for this man. I love him with every fiber of my being. And I want to thank everyone for all the love, kind words and support they have sent to our family. Thank you for continuing to pray without stopping. Because of you we have been able to make it through this difficult time. Thank you for loving us and Chase's family. Thank you @CrossChurch and @shilohsaints For holding a prayer session for Craig for the past two nights. I couldn't make it through life without all of you. Thank you to all the people who have come up, called, and messaged me to shower me with love. Thank you to @backroadanthem for loving me as a sister and being there for our family every step of the way. Thank you to all the OK law enforcement agencies that have cared so much through this crisis. I'm sorry I can't thank everyone for everything you have done. But know that I love you and appreciate every single call, text, hug and prayer. To update everyone, the search for Craig has been called for the night and will resume in the morning. We love you and appreciate you more than words can say. Please continue to pray for both our and Chase's family.

Craig Strickland with his band Backroad Anthem

(Photo via Facebook)

R E A D Y for tonight in Jonesboro. AR Brickhouse 9pm 👍🏼

Craig Strickland

(Photo via Facebook)

Craig Strickland

(Photo via Facebook)

From Little Rock last night to now sitting in a tree in Brown County Illinois... Ready to give an Illinois buck a ride in the back of the truck... 👊🏼
Thank you everyone who will be there tonight. You have no idea what that means to me and does for my heart. I am so blessed to have my CrossChurch and Shiloh family. I wouldn't be able to walk through this difficult moment without all of you. Thank you all. Love you ❤️
Merry Christmas from the Stricklands ☺️ #PrettyWife #Christmas
#missusa2015 with my love ❤️ @backroadcraig I'm so incredibly happy a member of our Vanbros family won it!!! So proud to have judged you at Miss OK USA @missusa! You did amazing!! 👑💖👏🏻
Well that was fun... #KendrickFincher #Arkansas
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Losing Craig was not what any of us desired; but as @strickark [Craig's father, Randy Strickland] told me -- when we get sad, we can think of all the ways God will bless others through Craig's story," she wrote. "What a wonderful and humbling reminder that God has chosen Craig's family to help others. ... And one day, I will be so excited to sit with Craig and our Father in heaven, as we tell Craig about all the opportunities his family had to share the love of Christ with hurting people all over the world because of his testimony. What a gift of love that will be."

A year ago today, the search for my husband @backroadcraig concluded. I remember receiving these last texts from him before talking for the last time on the phone-I'm so thankful God gave me the blessing of getting to say and hear the words "I love you" to/from him just moments before he and Chase got in their 10ft flat bottom boat. It was truly such a blessing the day we found Craig. We were finally able to find some kind of peace knowing he was with his Heavenly Father. God showed us then, and continues to show us, that He takes care of his children. While the pain is great that we carry, our Lord will carry the burden if we choose to let Him. A year later, I can testify to God's goodness and the gift of love that He pours out to those in pain. Sometimes His gifts of love aren't what we want or expect-for example, our savior Jesus Christ coming as a baby-but in the end, God's way is always better than what we want for ourselves. God is good, and His ways are perfect- I trust that. Losing Craig was not what any of us desired; but as @strickark told me - when we get sad, we can think of all the ways God will bless others through Craig's story. What a wonderful and humbling reminder that God has chosen Craig's family to help others. At the closing of this year, I am thankful for God's gift of life. And one day, I will be so excited to sit with Craig and our Father in heaven, as we tell Craig about all the opportunities his family had to share the love of Christ with hurting people all over the world because of his testimony. What a gift of love that will be❤ *Please visit the Craig Strickland Foundation homepage to donate to scholarships established in honor of Craig; and be looking for the launch of my new website, which will be the home for my blog/vlog, as well as the place to contact/hire me for speaking engagements. www.craigstricklandfoundation.org

A post shared by Helen Wisner Strickland (@helenelizabethstrickland) on

The Craig Strickland Foundation was set up in Craig's honor after his death, where fans can donate to provide scholarships.

WATCH: Craig Strickland's Bandmates React to His Death -- 'He is Smiling Down on Us'

Last January, Helen said Craig "experienced no pain in his final moments."

"The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in," she wrote on Instagram. "He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep."

RELATED: Celebrities who died in 2016:

52 PHOTOS
Celebrities who died in 2016
See Gallery
Celebrities who died in 2016

Glenn Frey (67): Nov. 6, 1948 - Jan. 18, 2016 

(Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)

George Michael

(Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

Merle Haggard

(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Carrie Fisher

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Natalie Cole (65): Feb. 6, 1950 - Dec. 31, 2015

(Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)

Pat Harrington Jr. (76): Aug. 13, 1929 - Jan. 6, 2016

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Zsa Zsa Gabor

(Credit: Betty Galella via Getty Images)

Michael Galeota (31): Aug. 28, 1984 - Jan. 10, 2016

(Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

David Bowie (69): Jan. 8, 1947 - Jan. 10, 2016 

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

Alan Rickman (69): Feb. 21, 1946 - Jan. 14, 2016 

(Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Qatar Goodwood Festival)

Dan Haggarty (74): Nov. 19, 1941 - Jan. 15, 2016

(Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Tommy Kelly (90): April 6, 1925 - Jan. 26, 2016

(Photo by FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Abe Vigoda (94): Feb. 24, 1921 - Jan. 26, 2016 

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Joe Alaskey (63): April 17, 1952 - Feb. 3, 2016

(Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage for The Lippin Group)

Maurice White (74): Dec. 19, 1941 - Feb. 4, 2016

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Vanity (57): Jan. 4, 1959 - Feb. 15, 2016

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

George Gaynes (98): May 3, 1917 - Feb. 15, 2016

Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

Angela "Big Ang" Raiola (55): June 30, 1960 - Feb. 18, 2016

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Harper Lee (89): April 28, 1926 - Feb. 19, 2016

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lee Reherman (49): July 4, 1966 - Feb. 29, 2016

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)

Bud Collins (86): June 17, 1929 - March 4, 2016

(Photo by Uri Schanker/WireImage)

Joey Feek (40): Sept. 9, 1975 - March 4, 2016

(Photo by Frederick Breedon IV/WireImage)

Nancy Reagan (94): July 6, 1921 - March 6, 2016

(Photo by Michael Kovac/FilmMagic)

Sir George Martin (90): Jan. 3, 1926 - March 8, 2016

(Photo by Steven Lawton/FilmMagic)

Garry Shandling (66): Nov. 29, 1949 - March 24, 2016


(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

Patty Duke (69): Dec. 14, 1946 - March 29, 2016

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Daisy Lewellyn (36): Jan. 15, 1980 - April 8, 2016 

(Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)

David Gest (62): May 11, 1953 - April 12, 2016 

PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurentiu Garofeanu/ Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media via Getty Images

Doris Roberts (90): Nov. 4, 1925 - April 17, 2016

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Joanie "Chyna" Laurer (46): Dec. 27, 1969 - April 20, 2016 

(Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Prince (57): June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

(Photo by ©2007 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis via Getty Images)

Rickey Smith (36): May 10, 1979 - May 5, 2016 

(Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

William Schallert (93): July 6, 1922 - May 8, 2016

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Tonita Castro (63): 1953 - May 8, 2016

(Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

Morley Safer (84): Nov. 8, 1931 - May 19, 2016 

(Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)

Janet Waldo (96): Feb. 4, 1920 - June 12, 2016

(Photo by John Heller/WireImage)

Muhammad Ali (74): Jan. 17, 1941 - June 3, 2016 

(Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

Theresa Saldana (61): Aug. 20, 1954 - June 6, 2016 

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage)

Ronnie Claire Edwards (83): Feb. 9, 1933 - June 14, 2016

(Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

Anton Yelchin (27): March 11, 1989 - June 19, 2016

(Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)

Noel Neill (95): Nov. 25, 1920 - July 3, 2016

(Photo by John M. Heller/Getty Images)

Bill Cunningham (87): March 13, 1929 - June 25, 2016

(Photo by CLINT SPAULDING/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Teddy Rooney (66): April 13, 1950 - July 2, 2016

(Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

Garry Marshall (81): Nov. 13, 1934 - July 19, 2016

(Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)

Gene Wilder (83): June 11, 1933 - Aug. 29, 2016

Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank

Rene Angelil (73): Jan. 16, 1942 - Jan. 14, 2016

(Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Alexis Arquette (47): July 28, 1969 - Sept. 11, 2016

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Robert Vaughn (83): Nov. 22, 1932 - Nov. 11, 2016

(Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Gwen Ifill (61): Sept. 29, 1955 - Nov. 14, 2016

(Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

Florence Henderson (82): Feb. 14, 1934 - Nov. 24, 2016

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Alan Thicke (69): March 1, 1947 - Dec. 13, 2016

(Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.