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Extended Audio Sample The Letter: My Journey through Love, Loss, and Life, by Marie Tillman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (353 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marie Tillman Narrator: Marie Tillman Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 2003, Pat Tillman, serving in the US Army, hastily wrote a “just in case” letter to his wife, Marie. When he returned on leave before his departure to Afghanistan, he placed the letter on top of their bedroom dresser. For months it sat there, sealed and ever-present, like a black hole through which Marie knew her stable life would be pulled if she ever had reason to open it. Then, in April 2004, Marie’s worst nightmare came true. In the days following his death, it was Pat’s letter that kept her going and, more than that, it was his words that would help her learn to navigate a world she could no longer share with her husband.

In The Letter, Marie talks about her journey to remake her life after Pat’s death. In it, she recalls meeting and falling in love with Pat when they were kids, his harrowing decision to join the army after 9/11, and the devastating day when she learned he’d been killed. She describes how she withdrew from the public spotlight to grieve, learning along the way the value of solitude, self-awareness, and integrity in the healing process. And, finally, Marie recounts her work to rebuild her life, including founding The Pat Tillman Foundation, an organization established to carry forth Pat’s legacy of leadership, and her decision to step back into the public eye in order to inspire people to live with meaning and purpose.

Filled with the lessons Marie learned and the wisdom she gained since Pat’s death, The Letter is both a heartrending love story and an inspiring tale for anyone, young or old, whose life has taken an unexpected hard turn—and who struggles to get back on the right path.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Marie Tillman’s elegantly written memoir weaves together a love story with the life affirming lesson that grief’s tributaries can flow toward healing and acceptance. This book reminds us that it’s possible to move past trauma without forgetting or letting loss define you. This is a must read for anyone who has worked to overcome life’s sorrows and embrace its triumphs with grace.” 

    Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of In An Instant

  • “Marie Tillman’s gentle memoir of love and loss is an important reminder to all that life isn’t measured by its length, but by its depth.”

    Regina Brett, New York Times bestselling author of God Never Blinks

  • The Letter is a candid, eloquent account of unthinkable loss, its incapacitating aftermath, and Marie Tillman’s long, lonely journey back to daylight…It’s a brave and wonderful book.” 

    Jon Krakauer, New York Times bestselling author of Where Men Win Glory

  • “[Marie Tillman] successfully honors her husband’s legacy while offering solace and hope for those in anguish.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An inspiring account of the author’s difficult decision to become a public advocate for military families.”  

    Kirkus Reviews 

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Betsy | 2/19/2014

    " Everyone needs to read this book. I admire Marie's courage so much. Hearing about the ocean of pain she had to swim through is so hard, but the way she managed to put the pieces back together after such a loss is really an inspiration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Cynthia | 2/9/2014

    " "everyone wanted to see the grieving widow, but I had taken pride in this most difficult time that I could maintain my composure and avoid a public show. My composure was also my one act of defiance. Everyone wanted me to break down , because they wanted the satisfaction of picking me back up. They wanted to feel useful. I wouldn't give them that satisfaction. Everything else was out of my control, but this I could control" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lyndsey | 1/31/2014

    " This book is great if you have ever lost someone. Not only Pat's brave story but Marie's journey through grief and to live. Excellent! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Janet | 1/20/2014

    " Story of the tragic loss of American Hero Pat Tillman's short life through his brides eyes. Great book! "

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About the Author

Marie Tillman is the president and cofounder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. In 2008 she led the development of the foundation’s primary initiative, the Tillman Military Scholars program, which aims to create the next generation of leaders by helping a select group of veterans, active service members, and their spouses fulfill their academic dreams. She has been a featured speaker at the US Air Force Academy Center for Character Development, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, Harvard Kennedy School, and Clinton Global Initiative University. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe, and their four boys Joey, Johnny, Sam, and Mac.