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Complete strangers mourned him, but they mourned the loss of something symbolic, while we, his friends and family, mourned the flesh-and-blood man. How different it must have been in the nineteenth century, when people properly understood mourning. Widows dressed in heavy black robes and veils They were allowed to mourn fully for four years, not expected to "find someone else" the day after the memorial service.


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  • The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life;
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Today Western corporate culture dictates two weeks of bereavement. Death should be sufficiently mourned in this time; then it's back to work. I hated guns, violence, and war and had always been perplexed by the need for it all. Was fighting just human nature?

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Was this what we did as people--tried to conquer each other? I didn't completely get it, but still I always admired people who enlisted. I couldn't imagine what it would take for me to do so myself. I felt fully you could support the troops and yet not the military actions. Plus the decisions made in Washington now affected me in a very real, personal way, and far from feeling I needed to be loyal, I felt I needed to be even more involved in and outspoken about what those decisions were.

Things just happen. Randomly and awfully, they just happen. I wished that I felt otherwise, that I was a religious person who believed that everything happens for a reason. I'd even tried to tap into a spiritual answer and had sat on the porch the night after Pat died, asking for some sort of sign or feeling that there was a heaven and that I'd see him again.

But I'd felt nothing. I didn't feel that he was in a better place, that this was all part of god's plan, or that everything happened for a reason. I simply felt nothing. I can't imagine--don't want to imagine--what it's like to lose your other half at such a young age and then to have it be such a public affair. Ironically, in doing so they selfishly exploited Pat, who had made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He had also refused to be part of the spotlight during his life, refusing to grant interviews etc.

Instead, this book centers around Marie and Pat's relationship and her personal struggles and healing after his death.

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A Story Of Life, Through Love & Poetry

It is honest and tragic, but also uplifting and inspiring. Interestingly, in reading through other reviews of this book, I noticed most of the reviewers were women, and I guess this makes sense as that may have been the target audience. However, I don't think this is "chick-lit," as I felt there is a lot here that both sexes can appreciate. I would recommend this to anyone male or female who appreciates stories that explore grief and loss and the subsequent healing process.

View 1 comment. Feb 27, Mikey B. With all due respect for the anguish endured by Marie Tillman I decided to abandon this book with about one hundred pages left. As with most autobiographies it is inundated with mundane affairs. The last one hundred, which I admittedly skimmed, were her readju With all due respect for the anguish endured by Marie Tillman I decided to abandon this book with about one hundred pages left.

The last one hundred, which I admittedly skimmed, were her readjustment back to normality and friend-ships, dating Perhaps this was just not the right book for me. Marie touches some of these aspects, but not as much as I would have liked — and admittedly this would have been most difficult for her to do. Apr 02, Camelia Skiba rated it it was amazing.

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They say behind each successful man, there's a smart woman. I say behind each hero there's a Marie. The NFL player who gave up a successful career as a football player to enlist in the army became an icon after his death in April The circumstances surrounding his death still create a lot of controversy, including two congressional hearings and multiple investigations. Somehow Marie had to learn how to cope with the media infatuation with her husband as well as with all the attention she unwillingly received.

I applaud Marie for her ability to capture real feelings, real emotions making the book that much more intense, allowing readers a close look into a grieving heart. She went through the stages of grief in her own way, at her own pace, and came out not completely healed but stronger. The Letter is a compelling, poignant book, a true story of heroism and altruism behind the deadly lines of war.

Jul 15, Courtney rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , biography-autobiography-memoir. I have read Jon Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman and the book written by Pat's mother, but I always wondered how Marie Pat's widow was handling things after his death. She remained so private and shut away, but has now decided to share her story.

This is not a book about Pat Tillman. Yes, she shares some stories of him, but it's more about her and her relationship with him, both during their life together and after his death. And that's the way it should be. She is her own person and not defined I have read Jon Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman and the book written by Pat's mother, but I always wondered how Marie Pat's widow was handling things after his death.

She is her own person and not defined by her widowhood. I felt like Marie was a high school friend that was calling to catch up on what had been going on in her life. The book is written in a fairly conversational tone, even though Marie is more "proper" for lack of a better word. Marie doesn't hide the sorrow and pain that she lived through and still carries today but she also shows how she was able to come out of it and live a happy life. I'm so happy to hear of the recent news of her marriage and new baby and for all the work that she does through the Pat Tillman Foundation.

This is a great book not just for those who have lost loved ones in military service, but for anyone who is treading water in a sea of loss and grief. Oct 20, Julia rated it it was ok. Ironically, the letter in this case was almost a footnote. It is barely mentioned, and not reprinted in full. It was the first of many incomplete tales within the story. This was really a narrative of Marie Tillman, and although she is well educated, bright, and capable, her story is just not that interesting, and she fails to tell her husband's story in a meaningful way.

Although all people grieve in their own way and that was one point which was well-made , her description of their relationsh Ironically, the letter in this case was almost a footnote. Although all people grieve in their own way and that was one point which was well-made , her description of their relationship didn't lead me to believe in the magnitude of the loss she speaks of. It may just be that Marie Tillman is such a private person that she was unable to characterize their relationship without exposing herself more than she was comfortable with.

I can understand her reluctance to show her vulnerability and pain, but it was hard to relate to someone who behaved so stoically. I kept feeling that I was missing a big piece of the puzzle.

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I found it hard to sympathize, and as someone who cries at Hallmark commercials, that was rather unsettling. Sep 13, Melissa rated it it was amazing. I was reading another book that happened to be in the bedroom where my husband was sleeping and I did not want to wake him so I grabbed this book out of my library bag of books and once I started reading I could not stop.

I read the book the in one sitting. This book is one that left me feeling so many things. It is so personal and you see Marie in times of raw emotion.

I found this hard to read at times not because it was not good but as a military spouse she was living the things of my nightmares. I felt bad that she was not allowed to grieve in peace and that the horrors of the circumstances with the investigation into his death and it being so public. I felt bad that she had a husband the Army deemed high profile and because of his football career and was sad to see that they could not be honest to her about his death because of politics.

I feel that honesty should be owed to a family for it is they who sacrifice and it is they who lost a loved one that will leave a void the size of the Grand Canyon in their life. I learned that people say things in times of loss that are just crazy for instance at the memorial those trying to comfort her said your young you will find somebody else and thankfully you had no children.

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At such painful moments, some people unknowingly project their deepest fears on to you, the widowed. I was also reminded that grief has not time frame as Marie pointed out that in the 19th century, people properly understood mourning, widows dressed in black and they were allowed to mourn fully for four years. Today society we are saying you will find someone else at the memorial and a time is given to be moved by.