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Struck By The Past

Maggie Henry RittlerI don’t think about Maggie every day. When I do, I’m usually reminded by a subtle, everyday event that triggers a memory. Other days I’m struck by a flood of memories. Today was one of those days.

It’s my brother’s birthday. Yesterday was eight months since Maggie unexpectedly moved through the thinspace and into the next life. So she and Timm were both on my mind.

A new friend that I met in Texas last week posted this on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 8.55.54 PMI know exactly what Maggie’s last post was.

I know exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was where I am today, in Stone Harbor with my family. And I went to the same restaurant tonight, Fred’s Tavern. They seated us at the same corner table. I sat in the same seat at that same table as I did on August 3, 2012. The last one against the wall closest to the bar.

Serendipity is that happy, surprising, accidental thing in life that happens to you when you least expect it. What is the word for that sad, surprising, accidental, thing that strikes you when you least expect it?

Whatever that word is, that’s how my day was.

I stumbled on this Dickinson poem tonight in a book that I just happened to download for my iPad last night. I smiled as I read it thinking about the unexpected Maggie.

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”

Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

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