Family, friends and fans gathered together to remember and honor the life of Craig Strickland earlier this week.
On Jan. 12, a memorial service for the 29-year-old Backroad Anthem singer was held at the Cross Church Pinnacle Hills Campus in Rogers, Ark. During the ceremony, a heartbreaking pre-taped message from Strickland’s wife, Helen, was shown.
“As I walk through this exceedingly difficult and painful situation, I know that I am just getting started on my path of grief,” she said, according to People. Strickland’s father, Randy, also shared memories of his much-beloved son.
“We had such a special relationship, such a bond,” his explained. “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.”
Strickland was buried during a private ceremony earlier in the day. Just hours later, Helen Strickland shared a photo of the note she tucked into her husband’s jacket pocket before his funeral.
Following the memorial service, Helen Strickland once again took to social media to share her gratitude for the support that she has received following her husband’s tragic death.
“Thank you to everyone who watched the memorial service, either physically present or via webcast, tonight,” Strickland wrote. “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.”
Strickland and his friend, Chase Morland, died after their boat capsized during severe weather while on a duck hunt in Oklahoma’s Kaw Lake on Dec. 26. Strickland was a vocalist in the country group Backroad Anthem. Over the past three years, the band opened for many major country artists, including Dierks Bentley and Chris Young. Earlier this month, the remaining members of Backroad Anthem announced they would continue performing together “in honor of Craig Strickland.”