Tillman Widow Urges Final Letters to Loved Ones

Monday, 25 Jun 2012 12:06 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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Pat Tillman’s widow, Marie, is urging people to write a final letter to loved ones, as her husband did for her and has set up a website devoted to the cause,.
 
Her site, justincaseletter.com, will keep the messages in a digital vault and letter writers can provide the names of up to three people who can access the letter. They can also choose to keep the letters private or share them publicly on the site.
 
Her husband, Pat Tillman, was a National Football League player with the Arizona Cardinals who put his career on hold to fight for his country after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire in ­Afghanistan in 2004.
 
After his death, she tried to do as Pat urged in a letter he gave her to open in the event of his death: go on with her life. Her new book, “The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life,” tells how she coped.
 
In an interview with Parade Magazine, Marie said she started writing without the intention of turning it into a book, but more as a means of therapy.

“Once I could put some time and distance between me and what happened, though, I was able to get out there and talk to people,” she said.

“And the more I did, the more I heard stories of loss. When I was going through really difficult times, those were the people I connected with. At some point, I realized that in the same way other people’s stories helped me heal, maybe mine would be helpful for someone else.”
 
She said moving on was not easy but she wanted to do what Pat had asked.  “It took a long time, and it was not easy, certainly,” she told Parade. “I just decided I wouldn’t let the experience shape my life in a negative way—that I would live as Pat had asked me to in his final letter and stay open to life. Going about things with that attitude allowed all these wonderful things to come into my life.”
 
On the website, Tillman includes some examples of “just in case” letters throughout history. Tillman told the New York Post that the site “is not meant to be morbid. It’s about a positive and hopeful message to pass on.”
 
One letter from a Civil War soldier to his wife read:  “I believe I have a charmed life as far as secession bullets are concerned — yet should I be wounded I could not forgive myself if I did not write a line now.”

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