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Craig Strickland’s Widow Reflects on Their Final Moments: ‘I Wouldn’t Change Anything’

Helen Strickland lovingly remembered her husband, Backroad Anthem singer Craig Strickland, in a televised interview on Thursday (Jan. 7), sharing that they had nothing left unsaid between them before he passed away.

The 29-year old singer went missing in late December while leaving for a duck hunt in Oklahoma during terrible weather. After an exhaustive week-long search, rescuers found his body on Monday (Jan. 4). The singer succumbed to hypothermia after his boat capsized. His close friend and hunting companion, 22-year-old Chase Morland, also died.

“We’re actually doing a lot better than people are expecting,” his widow, Helen Strickland, tells CNN. “More than any of us could ever expect. God just really has helped us get through this, and I think everybody sharing their love for Craig and how much they loved him helps us get through this really difficult time.”

Commenting on her husband’s choice to embark on a duck hunt knowing severe weather was imminent, she admits, “Craig really had no sense of what not to do sometimes, as far as, when it came to duck hunting at least. Winter weather is the best time to go duck hunting, and I think he looked at that time and he looked at that storm … he knew the ducks were coming in, he knew they were gonna be there. It’s more than just trying to shoot ducks … I think what Craig loved about that is, he got to spend time with his friends or family or whoever he got to take out with him. For him, seeing that winter storm, he knew it was gonna make an awesome story, and to be able to spend that time with Chase, who he was starting to mentor; I think that was what he was thinking.”

She fondly recalls the last time she spoke to Craig, after coming back from visiting his family right before he left for the ill-fated trip. The couple sat on their sofa and made up funny lyrics about their black cat, Salem, to the tune of “Santa Baby,” replacing it with “Salem Baby” and laughing and joking while cuddling on their couch. She says they were happier than they had ever been.

“I can’t look back for a single second and say that I would take back anything, or that I wish anything had been better,” she says. “He walked out the door, and he looked at me and he said, ‘I love you,’ and he blew me a kiss. And he said, ‘I’ll talk to you soon.'”

“I wouldn’t change anything about that, and I think the family would say the same thing,” she adds. “That entire time that we were with family, it was like he knew exactly what each family member needed to make them feel okay about his passing, and every person felt loved, and they wouldn’t change a thing.”

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