January 31, 2015 07:00 PM

During his four tours of duty in Iraq, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was away from home for months at a time. But even after he quit the military in 2009 to prioritize his family, leaving them just for a night or two still hurt. His wife, Taya Kyle, remembers how their young daughter had tears in her eyes after he set off for an overnight trip in early 2013.

“She said, ‘I know Daddy has to work, and I know he’s coming back, but I just miss him already,” recalls Taya.

When she spoke with him by phone and shared that their daughter had been upset to show how much she loved being with him, “He said, ‘I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach.’ He asked if he could talk to her. His friend told me later that he leaned against the wall and bent down to his knees and held the bridge of his nose with tears in his eyes. He loved his kids so much.”

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