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."
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.
"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."
"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."