Backroad Anthem’s Craig Strickland was laid to rest in Arkansas yesterday, a little more than two weeks since he set out on a duck hunting trip that he unfortunately would not return home from. Friends and family gathered at Cross Church, in Rogers, Arkansas to bid farewell to the singer, while others streamed the memorial service online.
“As I walk through this exceedingly difficult and painful situation, I know that I am just getting started on my path of grief,” Craig’s wife, Helen, said in a pre-taped video that played during the service.
His father, Randy, also remembered Craig at the service.
“We had such a special relationship, such a bond,” Randy shared. “My son allowed me to share in his life and I really think that’s what he did for all of y’all. He invited you in. He was passionate and loving and caring.”
He also showed his support for his daughter-in-law assuring that she “will always be part of our family.”
Today I buried my husband. This is a picture of the letter I put in his jacket pocket. I love him with every part of my heart, but I love our God more…and I know my God loves Craig and I more than we could ever imagine. Therefore, God has a purpose. He makes everything beautiful in its time. Craig established relationships with each of us so that he could see us again. So let us love one another like Craig did. Let us pray for strangers. And let us establish relationships with one another with the goal of establishing Christ-like relationships so that we can see each other again in heaven. ❤️ “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest… A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… A time to search and a time to quit searching.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 6
A photo posted by Helen Wisner Strickland (@helenelizabethstrickland) on
Helen left Craig one final love note, which she placed in his pocket when he was buried earlier in the day. “I love you with all my heart,” she wrote. “I will miss doing life with you on this earth. You were my person and are the love of my earthly life. Thank you for sharing the last few years you had with me. I know you are in better hands than mine. The Lord is taking care of you, and loves you more than I could ever imagine. I can’t wait to see you again in heaven. I love you … I can’t say that enough. I will see you soon.”
Strickland was found dead on Monday, January 4 after embarking on a hunting trip with his friend Chase Morland on Sunday, December 27. The pair’s boat was found capsized a day later and Morland’s body was discovered shortly after. After a week of searching, rescuers found Strickland’s body on the shoreline of Kaw Lake, north of where his boat capsized.
After the service, Helen took to Instagram to share a letter of appreciation. “Because of your love and prayers I know I can get through this,” she wrote. Read more of her message below.
Thank you to everyone who watched the memorial service, either physically present or via webcast, tonight. I wish I could thank and hug each of you individually. But for now, all I can do is say thank you and I love you. Because of your love and prayers I know I can get through this. Thank you for loving my husband. He cared so much about all of you. Thank you CrossChurch Staff and Sisco funeral home for the countless hours you put into this service. You paid attention to every detail which allowed our family to not worry about a thing. Thank you to Shiloh Christian School for serving our family and providing food for so many people. Thank you to everyone who sent donations and flowers. Our family feels so loved and blessed. @barrettbaber thank you for the wonderful performance you shared. It was so special. @awmen @nickfloyd8 @davidmckinneyjr and @backroadanthem for putting together the most perfect service to honor Craig. It truly touched so many people. I am already hearing stories of saved lives. I love you Craig Michael, I’m thankful you’re with our Heavenly Father and everything is complete. I will do everything I can to carry on your legacy of establishing relationships and loving people. “I have come to realize that relationships are the the only thing we can take with us to heaven.” – Craig Strickland ❤️ A photo posted by Helen Wisner Strickland (@helenelizabethstrickland) on