Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, says her biggest priorities are “to do right by my kids and that I do right by Chris.”
Carrying herself with grace and pride, even in the face of tragedy and difficult odds, Taya Kyle carries on the legacy of her husband Chris Kyle. It is with the utmost respect that I commend her for having the fortitude to continue her mission; God, Family, Country. Taya, I salute you.
In a rare interview at her home, Taya, 38, spoke about trying to hold life together even as she continues to struggle with the death of her husband four months ago on Feb. 2. Though still in mourning, she talked about wanting to carry on her late husband’s legacy, including his work with veterans.
Part of that effort includes her writing the foreword and afterword to the book that Chris was working on before his death. American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms will be released Tuesday.
Chris was known as the deadliest sniper in history and nicknamed the “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi insurgents. He seemed to have found his postwar footing as an author, security consultant and advocate for veterans. He also seemed to have finally adjusted from his role as a warrior to a family man.
With all that Chris had been through in combat, she never expected him to die while trying to do something good for a fellow veteran. “As far as, like, how he died, not in a million years could I have come up with that one,” she said. “I can’t exactly find comfort in it, but I do appreciate that he was trying to help someone.”
Death wasn’t an unfamiliar experience to the Kyle family. Chris had suffered the deaths of close friends in the war. Taya knew people who had died in car accidents. “Chris and I would talk about that, recognizing how blessed we are and how every day is a gift,” she said.
Chris was “a powerful presence” in the lives of her children, she said. “But the gift is at least they were old enough to have known him. And he was involved in so much of the foundation of what is our life.”
Her biggest priorities going forward are “to do right by my kids and that I do right by Chris,” she said.
A website now under construction, www.chriskylefrog.com, will provide a platform for those priorities, including efforts to help recent war veterans, Taya said. Chris had a tattoo on his back of a frog skeleton that represented his fellow SEALs who had died, she said.
“I would love for people to think of me as a guy who stood up for what he believed in and helped make a difference for the veterans. You know, someone who cared so much about them that he wanted them taken care of”.” Chris Kyle, January 28, 2013
She is currently sorting through old photos that will be part of a memorial edition for American Sniper to be published in the fall, and she’s excited about the recent news that Stephen Spielberg will direct an adaptation of American Sniper, with Bradley Cooper playing the role of Chris.
Taya still struggles with grief. “I can only do little bits at a time without feeling it is going to completely consume me,” she said. “And so, in order for me to stay healthy and whole, when I can’t stop it, I let it come. When I can work, I do.”
But she’s not looking for pity, she said. “Part of our job as responsible human beings is to take the hit and keep going. But don’t lose your heart, don’t lose your faith, don’t be cold, but keep trying,” she said.
“That doesn’t mean that life’s not hard as heck to get through it, sometimes. But you got to do it.
“You try to get through it with laughter, grace and pride … and a heaping support of friends and family.”
Read more about this story, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News.