As Pat Tillman left for his tour of duty to Afghanistan in 2004, the former NFL star left behind a “just in case” letter that was never meant to be read by his wife Marie. However, when she learned that the love of her life would not be returning home she knew it was time to read his final words that were meant for her.
The contents of that letter have helped Marie Tillman, giving her the strength to face the day and carry on with her life after the death of her husband by friendly fire in the war in Afghanistan.
Releasing her book this Tuesday entitled “The Letter”, Tillman hopes to show the world how great of a man her husband was and give them an opportunity to know her husband behind the tough guy exterior.
Marie Tillman opened up about her husbands final letter to her on TODAY in an interview with NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager.
“Through the years, I’ve asked a great deal of you,” the letter reads.
“Therefore it should surprise you little that I have another favor to ask. I ask that you live.”
Marie Tillman continues, eyes closed,
“It’s difficult to summarize 10 years together, my love for you, my hopes for your future, and pretend to be dead all at the same time… I simply cannot put all this into words. I’m not ready, willing or able.”
In remembrance of the death of her high school sweetheart, Marie began the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for veterans and their spouses. She has also developed the website justincaseletter.com, which will serve as a digital vault for soldiers to write their own “just in case” letter that can be read by their loved ones if need be.
“I don’t know if he knew what he was doing when he left that letter,” Marie said.
“But it was really a gift for me to know that it was okay. It was okay for me to move forward and to live my life.”