Eight years after Pat Tillman’s death during friendly fire in Afghanistan, his wife, Marie Tillman opens up about her loss. Today on NBC, Marie Tillman revealed Pat’s love letter and talked about a memoire of the former NFL player.
Pat Tillman’s death has made Marie one of America’s most public widow, three years after the NFL player renounced his career. He dropped a multimillion contract in the NFL to join the U.S. army, after the September 11 2001 attacks that shook the country. Pat Tillman died as a U.S. army ranger during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2004.
Marie Tillman had an interview this Monday with NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager during which she talked about her book, “The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss and Life”. The memoire is based on a letter Pat gave her before he had left to Afghanistan and the hurdles she went through trying to cope with his loss.
It wasn’t until recently that Marie felt strong enough to share the content of Pat’s love letter with the rest of the world. It is her belief that her experience will help others cope with the pain of losing a husband. “It took me time to be more comfortable with what all of this meant in my life” she said. “The more I met people who had similar experiences or who had lost someone and was really able to connect with them, the more I realized I had the opportunity to use this experience to help others” Marie confessed on NBC’s “Today”.
The just in case love letter Pat Tillman left his wife reads: “Through the years, I’ve asked a great deal of you. Therefore it should surprise you little that I have another favor to ask. I ask that you live”.
It wasn’t easy for Marie Tillman to cope with the loss, given that her marriage to Pat became public concern. It also didn’t help that the mass media made out of Pat Tillman “an icon, a cultural symbol” whose “life and death meant different things to different people”. Then, in 2007 she had to sit through hearings about new details about Pat’s death. Nobody took blame for the former NFL player’s death, as Rep. Henry Waxman concluded it was a system failure.