Marie Tillman talk benefits Family Centers

When Pat Tillman gave up a promising NFL career to become an Army Ranger following the Sept. 11 attacks, his wife, Marie, stood by his side.

Despite the fact that they were newly married and looked forward to building a life together, Ms. Tillman understood this was something Pat felt he needed to do.

But while Pat was serving his second tour of Afghanistan, Ms. Tillman received the news that would change her life forever.

Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire in 2004, which created national headlines and left Marie to grieve the loss of her husband in the public eye.

Ms. Tillman spoke about how she coped with the many emotions surrounding Pat’s death at the 2012 Center for HOPE Luncheon on May 8 at the Country Club of Darien. She said one of Pat’s final letters — in which he urged her to go on with life in the event he didn’t make it back — provided her with the biggest sense of comfort during the most difficult times.

“For me, it was coming to terms with the fact that this person who I’ve loved and has been in my life for a really long time is gone,” she told the audience of nearly than 250. “And the challenge is trying to find a way to pick up the pieces and put your life back together when it’s not turning out the way you thought it would.”

The luncheon, co-chaired by Greenwich residents KK Lowther and Heather Pech and Rowayton resident Terri Walker, raised more than $130,000 for the Center for HOPE and The Den for Grieving Kids, Family Centers’ critical illness and bereavement support programs.

Tillman’s book, The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life, will be released on June 26.

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