"I really feel like he's one of those spirits that just stays with you," Taya told ET's Brooke Anderson.
In her new book American Wife: Love, War, Faith and Renewal, out now, Taya shares their private love story. Their decade-long marriage survived a war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from home for years and ended suddenly when Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed while helping a troubled vet.
The bond between Taya and Chris was so deep that after Chris' death, Taya insisted she be with his body for hours.
"The body is the one thing you have to say goodbye to," Taya explained to Anderson. "You can hold on to your memories. You can hold on to the spirit. That's part of the package that you love and the part that comforts you. I loved his body, his laugh, his hair, his face, holding his hand."
Chris is also survived by his two children. Taya recalled how difficult it was to give them the news of their father's death.
"I dreaded it the night before I told them," she said. "It was just this weight ... almost like time is standing still."
Part of what made Chris so memorable was his sense of humor, which was something that he and Bradley Cooper, who played him on the big screen in American Sniper, bonded over.
"One of the first times that they talked, [Chris] said, 'There's only one thing I'm going to need to do. I'm going to bring you to Texas, tie you to the back of my truck, drive down the road and knock some of the pretty off of you,'" Taya said.