In Admin on October 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm

LeilaDavid002This is a an online memory book blog for family, friends, and colleagues of Leila Abu-Saba.

All are welcome to contribute remembrances.

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR STORY TO: leilaabusabamemorial@gmail.com. We will post new notes as frequently as possible. Thank you in advance for your patience.

In conjunction with Mills College, the family has created the Leila Abu-Saba Memorial Award to be given annually to a Mills MFA student whose work embodies the spirit of exuberance, vitality, and social engagement that runs through Leila’s writing. Contributions to the award in Leila’s honor are welcome. Donation checks may be written to Mills College directly with “Leila Abu-Saba” on the memo line, and mailed to: Mills College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 5000 MacArthur Boulevard, CA 94613. Thank you.

IF YOU WISH TO SEND A MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE TO THE FAMILY: Please click on the “Condolences” link above and leave a comment.


A Grammar of Loss – for Leila

In poem on October 10, 2010 at 1:05 am

“Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all.”
-Abd al-Qadir, Algerian military & political leader and poet, 1807-1883

I. Use of the Past Tense

It is surprisingly difficult
to begin to use the simple past
(never simple) or past perfect
(far from): like the quickly-
corrected stumbles we make
in a foreign tongue,
embarrassing ourselves; but here
not only grammar but heart
resists, yearning for the present
indicative, the continued present,
the present of ongoing action
which leads to the future.

II. Synonym

When the friend has gone,
we tend to say, “She has passed,”
“He has gone on,” “Dearly departed,”
“We have lost him,” avoiding
the straightforward reference
to death.

III. Case

In some languages each noun
possesses a case, such as ablative
or genitive, and in this case the case
would be accusative; but whom
to accuse?

IV. Number

The verb and the noun
must conform, like to like;
but what is the correct number
of loss?

V. Dangling Participle

Leaving so much hanging, those who
still live, the conversations which seem
to continue, the unasked and unanswered
questions . . .

VI. Diagrammed Sentences

I | have lost | you
| \forever

You | are lost
| \to \forever

VII. Conjunction

Conjunctions show relationship.
What has been joined
may then be sundered.

VIII. Subjunctive Mode

Use of the subjunctive expresses
an idea as desirable, supposable,
conditional: Would that she were alive.
If only it were to turn out differently.
I wish she were here with us.

IX. Indefinite Relative Pronoun

Whatever happened had to happen.
Whichever treatment she sought
was inadequate. Whoever could
have believed it would end
like this?

–Lisa Rappoport

A Loving Arab Woman of Hope

In blogging, Lebanon on March 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

While researching amazon.com reviews of The Yacoubian Building, I discovered Leila’s review of it.  I decided to reply to it, but noticed she’d done nothing new for a while, so I checked on her profile only to learn of the passing of this beautiful, sensitive, creative and loving Arab woman of hope.  I cannot really explain all the emotions that went through me as I read about your wife and mother, and I felt sad as I realized I shall not see her in this life.

I’ve sent her webpage to all my friends.  I am a student in Muslim/Christian Relations/Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT.  I lived and worked as a Registered Nurse in Saudi and Egypt during the ’80s.  More importantly, I grew up in New Orleans where my parents best friends were from Lebanon, had five children, and when my father died when I was twelve the father, Najib Aoun, promised my father that always I would have a home and a father.

My love for this family and for Lebanese culture and customs is beyond anything that can be measured.  I am certain that Leila will always be remembered by me and by my four Lebanese-American sisters as we enjoy Leila’s work and her recipes.

Thank you so much for allowing her legacy to live on the internet.  As one of my “sisters” said to me when I was grieving my mother’s death, “You must remember, love never dies.”

May God bless all of you with Leila’s memory.  May the remembrance of her inspire you with energy, love and commitment to carry on the work she began.

Salaam for now,

Martha Fahima Graham