Kathie Lee Gifford delivers heartfelt tribute to Frank Gifford on 'Today' return

Kathie Lee Gifford's Emotional Return to 'Today'

Kathie Lee Gifford returned to the fourth hour of NBC's "Today" show on Monday, a little more than a week after her husband, Frank, died. Wearing a blue floral dress, Kathie Lee fought back tears as she took a few minutes at the top of the 10 o'clock hour to pay tribute to Frank.

Kathie Lee talked at length about the importance of faith to Frank, explaining that growing up poor, his family's beliefs were all they had.

"Every time they moved to a new town, [as Frank's father searched for work]," Kathie Lee explained. "They'd go to church every week as a family, and that kept them together as a family through the darkest, darkest times."

Kathie Lee indicated that Frank's faith helped him be in "complete peace" when he died.

VIDEO: Watch the full segment with her tribute:

Watch Kathie Lee's Touching Tribute to Husband Frank Gifford

"He knew that every sin that he had ever committed was forgiven," Kathie Lee said. "He had the hope that he would be with the Lord and that we would someday be with him as well."

She noted that he died instantly while watching TV, all dressed for church in what he knew was her favorite outfit.

"I'm grateful that the Lord took him that way because the only thing Frank was afraid of in his entire life was being a burden to those he loved," Kathie Lee said. "He never wanted to be hooked up to machines. He never wanted to lose his dignity. He'd seen so much of that through the years. I prayed that the Lord would take him the way he wanted to go."

She explained that their trip a few years ago to the Valley of Elah, where they picked up some of the stones like the one David threw to defeat Goliath, changed him. And she urged those who were watching to continue to carry out Frank's message.

"Frank would want you to do this today: If you see a stone somewhere, pick it up and ask yourself, 'What is my stone? What is the gift that only I can do in this world to make it a better place?' And spend your life trying to throw it well," Kathie Lee said. "And then he'd want you to stop a policeman and thank him for [his] service. He'd want you to stop every fireman and thank them."

She added: "He was so grateful. He knew what hard work was. He never had an entitled moment in his life. And we will miss him so much."

She also thanked her family, including her surrogate family members at Today, and those who've expressed their support to her.

"I want to thank everybody for your love and your texts and your tweets. Just the outpouring has been extraordinary," she said. "It's a heck of a way to find out how loved you are, but believe me my family got great strength and comfort from it."

PHOTOS: A look back at Frank Gifford's life

Frank Gifford passes away at 84
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Kathie Lee Gifford delivers heartfelt tribute to Frank Gifford on 'Today' return
American professional football player Frank Gifford, running back for the New York Giants, stands outdoors dressed in his uniform with one hand on his hip and holds his helmet, 1950s or 1960s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 28: Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, cuts back into a break in the line during the NFL Championship Game on December 28, 1958 against the Baltimore Colts at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York. Steve Myhra of the Colts tied the score with a 20-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Alan Ameche scored for the Colts in overtime as they defeated the Giants, 23-17, in front of 64,185 fans. This was the first overtime game in NFL history. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 29: (L to R) Runningback Alex Webster, quarterback Charlie Conerly, runningback Mel Triplett and runningback Frank Gifford, of the New York Giants, pose together in the clubhouse prior to the NFL Championship Game on December 29, 1956 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
American professional football players Frank Gifford #16 (left) and Alex Webster #29 of the New York Giants at a practice game or training camp, late 1950s. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30: (L to R) Runningback Frank Gifford #16, of the New York Giants, gets a hug from quarterback Charlie Conerly #42 in the clubhouse after the NFL Championship Game on December 30, 1956 against the Chicago Bears at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. One of the two touchdown passes Conerly threw was to Gifford. The Giants beat the Bears, 47-7. (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29, 1959: Offensive lineman Jack Stroud #66 of the New York Giants leads the blocking for runningback Frank Gifford #16 (obscured behind Stroud) on a running play during a game on November 29, 1959 against the Washington Redskins at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. The Giants quarterback is Charlie Conerly #42. 591129-126 (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 09: 1956 NFL Pro Bowl Football Game - East vs. West at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. East Team coached by Washington Redskins Joe Kuharich. West Team coach is Los Angeles Rams Sid Gillman. Pictured is East Team player, a young Frank Gifford of the New York Giants, #16, Halfback. NFL's regular season MVP in 1956. Broadcaster, commentator for NFL games on CBS Television and later ABC's Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Married to Kathie Lee Gifford. (Photo by Al Paloczy/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1960: Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants runs on to the field during an NFL football game at Yankee Stadium circa 1960 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Gifford played for the Giants from 1952-64. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1962-64: Del Shofner #85 and Frank Gifford #16 of the New York Giants sit on the bench during a game, circa 1962-64. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
JAN 30 1970, FEB 1 1970; Mc Collum-Law Hosts a Star; The McCollum-Law Corp., Denver regional distributor for Westinghouse Corp., was host Friday at the Hilton Hotel to Frank Gifford, all-time football great. Gifford, all America back from USC in 1951, told his audience of sports, business, civic and political leaders that 'times have changed.' He recalled he was No. 1 draft choice in the National Football League in 1951 and 'got $3,800 and a motor bike.' He said O.J. Simpson, last year's No. 1 draft choice 'got contracts worth about $750,000 and a big car.' Gifford, after a decade with the New York Giants, is a CBS-TV sportscaster and Westinghouse TV spokesman. From left, W.S.Law, Gifford and Robert McCollum.; Gifford, Frank 5p; W.s.'Bing' Law frank Gifford Robert S. McCollum; (Photo By Bill Peters/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: ABC analyst and Hall of Famer Frank Gifford looks on before Super Bowl XXV with the New York Giants against the Buffalo Bills at Tampa, Florida on January 27, 1991 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys won 20-19. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 10/11/71 ABC sportscasters Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford at the N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game, won by the Cowboys 20-13. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) HOWARD COSELL, DON MEREDITH, FRANK GIFFORD
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 03: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is introduced during a halftime ceremony of a game between the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts on November 3, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Colts defeated the Giants 40-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL - 11/3/14 - Michael Strahan was celebrated at Met Life Stadium as he received his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring. The 2014 inductee was joined by fellow Giants Hall of Famers Frank Gifford, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor in a ceremony at halftime of the Giants game against the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) FRANK GIFFORD, MICHAEL STRAHAN
NBC NEWS EVENTS -- Hoda Kotb Book Launch Party -- Pictured: (l-r) Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford celebrate the launch of Hoda's book +ÆHow I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee' with a reception at the townhouse of Donny Deutsch on October 11 in New York City (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Frank Gifford and Regis Philbin appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03: Former New York Giants player Frank Gifford looks on at halftime as he gets inducted in the New York Giants ring of fame in a game against the Chicago Bears on October 3, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Giants defeated the Bears 17 to 3. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)

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