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If Today Be Sweet.......

In early 2007, Joanne added a “virtual book club” to her blog site. One of the books she reviewed was “If Today Be Sweet” by Thrity Umrigar, an American author. Joanne (and others of us who read it) liked it a lot, and Joanne adopted the phrase for her signature line on several online breast cancer groups in which she participated.

The phrase comes from “The Rubaiyat” by Omar Khayyam.

Ah, fill the Cup--what boots it to repeat

How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:

Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday,

Why fret about them if Today be sweet!

[Quatrain XXXIX]

What wise words from this 11th century mathematician/poet!! Joanne embraced the thought expressed—to enjoy every day without undue worry about yesterday or tomorrow—and she definitely put this concept into practice during the last months of her illness.

In May 2008, shortly after Joanne’s death, I was surprised and moved to receive the following E-mail:

“Dear Eileen. A friend of mine directed me to Joanne’s blog because of a reference she’d made to my novel “If Today Be Sweet”. I was moved to tears after reading it and reading about your daughter’s short but incredibly vital and useful life. It’s a rare person that touches the lives of so many around her. When I read about Joanne’s reference to my novel, it reminded me of why I became a writer in the first place. It was to reach out and communicate with sensitive, passionate readers such as your daughter. I hope you can count this reminder to me as one of the many gifts your daughter has brought to the people around her. Despite the enormity of the loss you have suffered, I end this e-mail with the wish that all your todays be sweet, now and forever.

Warmest regards, Thrity”

The expression is still used in our family and its valuable message is timeless. We should enjoy every day to the maximum—we can’t change our “dead” yesterdays and worrying about our “unborn” tomorrows is not beneficial. Today would have been Joanne’s 59th birthday and it seems an appropriate time to again remind myself (and others) to make every day as “Sweet” as possible.

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I finished reading it today, what a stunning book. Your blog post today made reading it even more special, thank you Grandma!

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Thanks Mom! I had forgotten as well. Thanks for the the reminder. I remember reading the book and how much it meant at the time. I think I will reread it. Indeed, today is sweet... ❤️

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Kelly Jane Oberle
Kelly Jane Oberle
Oct 19, 2020

Thanks so much for this post today Mom! I had forgotten about the message you received from the author - how incredibly touching. While we remember Joanne every day, I will take a quiet moment to enjoy some chocolate (as I don't drink wine or coffee!!) in her memory! Today is very sweet.

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This is a great reminder for all of us to stay in the present moment, especially during these trying times. It is also a reminder that what we are now experiencing is nothing compared to what Joanne faced with such dignity and courage. As we remember her in a special way today, we can honour her memory by appreciating and being grateful for the “sweet” days.❤️

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