Before he was an NFL star, Army Ranger, and fallen war hero, Pat Tillman was just a guy who loved a girl. Tillman's high school sweetheart and widow, Marie, reveals snippets of that guy via the letters he wrote her over the course of their 11-year relationship in a new book, The Letter. Highlights of Tillman's writings, via the New York Post:
- From a juvenile hall where he was sent after a fight at a pizza joint, 1994: “Hi, dude, I am glad I got a chance to see you. Actually glad is really not the word, but the less I think about it the easier it is.”
- From a separate college in 1995: "I want to thank you for the two years you’ve given me. Though we have been apart for much of them I would not trade them for anything. I would like to say “who knew it would have lasted so long?” but I can’t . . . I always knew. I wish we were together so I could show you just how much you mean to me. I love you."
- From Army basic training in 2002: “Marie, I know this isn’t the direction you saw us moving . . . I know this isn’t the life you dream to live . . . I know at times this path will be rough . . . And I know at times you’ll feel alone. Regardless of our direction, dreams or path . . . I know we have each other and I love you. And that’s all I need to know.”
- From an undated deployment: "It’s hard to think about how bad this situation really is sometimes. I hate being away from you, I hate the fact that you’re growing into a life so far removed from me. What the f--- kind of marriage involves my absence for months at a time? I think I may actually be a bad person for putting you through this."
- And from his "in case I die" letter: “It’s difficult to summarize 10 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."