Taya Kyle recently opened up to People magazine about her late husband, real life American Sniper Chris Kyle, and the effect his death in 2013 had on her family.
"I feel like [the kids] got robbed because they don’t get to see what I would see when I would look at him look at them: the twinkle in his eye and the pure joy and the pride," Taya Kyle told the magazine. "They had the epitome of a father – a guy who had a good Christian soul, who held them to a high standard of respect and manners and played with them until they were hysterically laughing."
Chris Kyle's life has been famously documented in the book and film, American Sniper. The veteran's life was tragically cut short when he was fatally shot on a Texas gun range by a fellow veteran, who was allegedly suffering from PTSD.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the film and family friend Jason Hall said the honorably-discharged Navy SEAL's demeanor changed when he spent time with his kids.
"He was real busted up," said Hall, of Chris Kyle's return home from Afghanistan. "He was in his thirties at the time, but he looked like he was 50 or 60."
— People magazine (@peoplemag) January 28, 2015
Hall said anytime he was with the kids, everything changed for the psychologically damaged veteran.
"I saw this look on his face," he said. "I saw this lightness. His eyes lit up for his kids."
Taya Kyle said Chris Kyle always put the kids first.
"He was the kind of dad who was like, 'First day of school? No, I'm not going to have a business trip,'" said Taya Kyle.
According to Taya Kyle, every moment was special with Chris, from school parties to the kids' sporting events to watching TV together.
"He had the greatest belly laugh. We would love watching America’s Funniest Home Videos together. He would just roll over laughing."
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) January 30, 2015
It's obvious from Taya Kyle that her late husband knew how to express love despite all the horror the veteran experienced as a sniper.
"He had that strong sense about him, along with that soft, loving side," she said. "You could always cuddle with him and it was always, ‘I love you,’ with a big hug.
“In his roughest times, they had his affection and so did I," she says. "I feel blessed that they were old enough to know that, because they will have that forever and they feel that today, still."