On Tuesday, "The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss and Life" by Marie Tillman, will be available for purchase. In it, Pat Tillman's wife shares the details of her life since the death of her husband Pat, the former NFL star and Army Ranger who was killed serving in Afghanistan.
It was asked that we not reproduce any of the text here, but a sizable excerpt of the book is available on MSNBC's website, and when you've got a few minutes, you should take a look. It's not something that's easy to read, but you'll be glad you did. Since Tillman's death, his memory has been pushed and pulled in so many directions, and no matter what you think of him, the events of his death, or the alleged cover-up, it's good to be reminded of the kind, gentle human being at the center of all of it.
The letter referenced in the title of the book is one that Pat wrote to Marie about a year prior to his death. It was a letter she was to read in the event that something happened to him overseas. Part of that letter is shared in the excerpt, as is everything else Marie experienced, from the time that soldiers showed up at her workplace, until when she finally had a second to sit by herself and read the letter.
It's a detailed and haunting account of her day, and it will stick with you. The emotional pain that must've gone into writing a book like this is just about unfathomable, though you could probably say the same for every step of Marie Tillman's life since her husband died. She's doing what her husband wanted, though. Writing this book is part of how she honors the last request her husband made of her in that letter -- that she continues to live.
And she has done so -- she has since remarried, and she and her new husband, Joe Shenton, have a son, Matt Patrick.