Chris Kyle, a retired Navy SEAL and bestselling author of the book "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," is seen with his wife, Taya, April 6, 2012.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram—MCT via Getty Images
By Eliana Dockterman
March 18, 2015

Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper subject Chris Kyle, wrote a letter to her husband Wednesday in honor of their 13th wedding anniversary and shared it on Facebook.

“Today, I have a choice,” Taya Kyle wrote. “I can bury myself under the covers and acknowledge the pain of missing you and mourn the future anniversaries without you. Or I can celebrate never having a day without you in my heart because you loved me enough to leave me a lifetime of memories and beauty. I am somewhere in between today.”

“And if I didn’t tell you enough in life, then let me tell you today … YOU, Chris Kyle, are IT for me,” she continued. “I loved you yesterday, I love you now and I will love you all the days of my life.”

The Navy credits SEAL Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper in the film, with the most kills in military history. He died in 2013 at the age of 38 when he was shot by former Marine Eddie Ray Routh. Routh was convicted of Kyle’s murder on Feb. 24 and sentenced to life in prison.

Screenwriter Jason Hall was already working on a film based on Kyle’s life when Kyle was killed. Taya told Hall to finish the script so that her children could have memorial to their father. She was played by actress Sienna Miller in the movie.

It was because of Kyle’s family that Hall and director Clint Eastwood decided not to show Kyle’s murder onscreen, the screenwriter has said. “I made a promise to Taya that I was going to tell her husband’s story right,” Hall told TIME in January. “I don’t want to be the guy who made some f—ing movie where I show his dad getting his f—ing head blown off.”

The movie has gone on to gross over $517 million worldwide—more than all the other Oscar best picture contenders combined.

Read Taya’s full letter below:

 

Read Next: American Sniper Screenwriter Jason Hall: ‘I Bled for This Thing’

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