Tears welled up as she read the handwritten words from Pat Tillman that begged her to do something seemingly beyond her strength.
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.
Marie would come to see Pat's "just in case" request as his final gift. It helped her navigate the stages of grief and come to terms with being the country's most talked about war widow.
Friday, Pat will be honored at San Jose's Leland High School -- where he and Marie began dating as seniors -- with the first Pat Tillman Legacy Classic.
And Marie, now the driving force in the Pat Tillman Foundation, has found personal happiness. Remarried and living in Chicago, she has a seven-month-old son, Mac, and three stepsons.
She also has penned a deeply personal book entitled "The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life" in hopes that others dealing with tragedy can find something useful in her story.