War Hero Pat Tillman Left Heartbreaking Letter to His Wife (VIDEO)

pat tillmanTen years ago Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman turned down a $3.6 million contract and joined the U.S. Army instead. It was just 18 months after 9/11 and Tillman felt it was more important to serve his country. He served several tours as an Army Ranger until his death in Afghanistan in 2004. He left behind a devastated wife, Marie.

He also left behind a letter -- a "just-in-case" letter -- for Marie before his last tour. That's the letter that kept Marie going after losing Pat. She's written a memoir about her recovery, The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life. It includes a few passages from that letter Pat wrote. They reveal Pat's desperate wish for Marie.

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It's difficult to summarize ten 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 ...

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.

Wow. Are your eyes still dry? It's amazing to think that a man as strong and brave as Pat could still be so tender and vulnerable -- nearly undone by the task of speaking to his wife as if he were dead and expressing to her everything their years together have meant to him. But I think he conveys that so clearly here.

When Pat writes, "I ask that you live," I think he means more than just surviving his death. I think he means that he wants Marie to live a full life. He doesn't want her to stay in mourning and live the rest of her days in quiet sorrow. He wants her to thrive and find happiness again. And that is the truest expression of love -- wishing someone happiness even if it's without you.

It makes me even sorrier that Pat is gone. The world needs more good men like him. But I can see how his words must have inspired Marie. I think Pat would be proud and thrilled if he could see her now.

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What message do you think your husband or boyfriend would leave you if he thought he might die soon?

 

Image via MSNBC

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