“Feeling Good” and photos from memorial

Posted by Naomi Ishisaka

Alana Memorial – Photos

The full set of photos are still uploading but here are a few with the beautiful sounds of Sala Cyril, Johari Farrar, Azali Nala Cyril (turn on your audio!). Thanks to Toshiye Ishisaka for the audio. #LovingAlana

Posted by Naomi Ishisaka on Sunday, November 18, 2018

Eulogy segment presented by Alana’s dad at the Memorial 11/17/2018

Thank you to everyone who made this event happen, and to the community attending.

I need some help in this interactive eulogy. I need you to repeat 2 words whenever I give the signal. CRUSHED IT!. Please everyone now — CRUSHED IT! Here’s the signal that I just made up. CRUSHED IT!

Muffy was never one to let grass grow under her feet. She always had one goal or more she was working on.

As a girl her goal was to watch the Mary Poppins video every weekend — CRUSHED IT!

One summer, soon after college, Muffy was able to join us on a cruise. Her goals:
To lie in the sun long enough to become the bronze goddess of the Mediterranean — CRUSHED IT!
To try every cocktail they served on the ship — CRUSHED IT!
To go to every activity on the ship — especially those that involved drinking — CRUSHED IT! — CRUSHED IT!

To see every production of Hair
To see every movie that has a dance-off — CRUSHED IT!

She seemed to want to set a record for the most times passing out in a restaurant — CRUSHED IT!

She and Martha Fuller set the goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together before they were 40. They fell short of this goal. But a few months ago, to get out of the hospital, Alana had to build herself up to where she could climb the 8 steps to the apartment — her Kilimanjaro, her Everest. — CRUSHED IT!

Alana was all about joy — even to the very end, it brought her such joy when a member of her community visited her. In person, by phone, by skype, by text or email. And she wanted to bring joy to each of us.– CRUSHED IT!

Alana’s marriage to her studsband Malkia brought them both tremendous growth and joy. I’ll close with this silly little poem I penned to honor that love.

Mitts and Muffy
Mitts and Muffy sitting in a tree
First came love, then came marriage
Tooling ’round town in their bright red carriage


Posted by Bob Devich

11/17/18: Muffy’s Memorial Eulogy – Charlotte (Char) Devich

Thank you to Mac and Team Alana for all the hard
work in preparing and putting together this
wonderful tribute and memorial for Alana. Her
presence and spirit are here and I can feel them
along with her big smile … Yes, she would be so proud and saying “Crushed it.”

Thanks to all of you who have come out to participate in this day.

Matthew 7:14 sent by Alana’s Uncle Tommy.
Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to
Life, and only a few find it …

Blessed are those … who walk in the light of Ones

Our Muffy did find both the gate and the road;
while walking in the light; her joy of life, her
writings, and medical journey were living proof.

A short story of Alana and her precociousness and confidence around age 5 or 6

Hair short – Man at cleaners said “cute little boy”
Alana: before I could say something said “I am
NOT a boy” Man says “precocious” Alana: again before I could reply “Yes, I am.” At that point, the
man said nothing else and gave us our clothes.
When we were in the car, I said Scoob (that is what we called her then) do you know what precocious means; without skipping a beat she said “yes, it means “I can answer for myself”.

This poem, “Journey Remembered” to me, captures Alana’s true essence and how we will always remember, Alana Scoob, Babe, Muffy, Princess, Devich Cyril.

As some people journey through life, they
leave footprints where they go … footprints of
kindness and love, courage and compassion,
humor and inspiration, joy and faith. Even when
they are gone, we can look back and clearly see
the trail they left behind —a trail bright with joy
that invites us to follow.

To Muffy, we will always remember your journey,
how you shared and allowed so many to walk, cry,
feel your joy and most importantly your beautiful
smile that lit up the darkest of times and made
everyone feel your joy despite your pain, fatigue,
or discomfort. Even the morning of your passing
there was that smile and moment you shared
with the love of your life, Mac.

Babe, you will be sorely missed but never
forgotten — Much love with (a bright) light in the
heavens and universe, where your light will forever shine brightly.

Again, thanks to each of you for sharing in the special day, honoring Alana!

Love you and miss you, Babe!

Posted by Bob Devich

Testimonial of Brett Patterson (Uncle Brett), delivered at the Memorial 11/17/2018

Because this is so important, I decided not to shoot from the hip.

So I got together with another family member to put a little something together, so bear with me as I read this.

I wanna thank Mac and the committee for asking me to speak today. I feel honored to have been asked to talk at this celebration of life.

I’m looking at the number of people here, and I’m grateful to see how well Alana was loved.

And I want to thank the support group that helped Mac arrange such a great gathering that reflects the greatness of the wonderful woman we’re here to honor.

I want to show my appreciation for Mac for helping Alana with her illness from start to finish.

The love, the unselfishness, and the compassion, you showed and gave Alana shows what true love really is.

I feel so grateful to have witnessed that. And Mac you’ll always be my family and my nephew.

I want to thank all the family and friends who traveled here to honor her.

If you’re in this room, it means you’re a special person.

Because Alana didn’t just associate with anyone.

Alana found a way to bring humor into everything.

She did stand-up comedy for a while, and it was so smart, I didn’t get it. I only knew to laugh because other people were laughing.

And she wasn’t afraid to shy away from the hard topics.

In fact, she was sure to call you out if she knew you were doing something wrong.

And that was one of the many amazing things about her.

She could know your darkest moments, the things you’re most ashamed of, and she would not judge you. She wouldn’t shame you.

She’d love you and tell you all the ways you’re doing things right.
I didn’t know when it happened, but she outgrew me. My niece out matured me.

At some point, she transformed from this adorable little girl and became my life-coach. The person I could talk to, that I could depend on for good advice.

Something tells me, I’m not the only one that knew her that way.
She touched a lot of lives.

Just look at all the people who came from all over to honor her. That speaks to the kind of woman she was. Open, honest, giving, and loving.

Losing Alana is a bigger than I could put into words, but I’m glad to see all of you here to pay your respects.

It really means a lot to me see how many lives she touched.
She will be truly missed.

Again, thank you all for attending and joining in this celebration of life for my niece.

I don’t know you all, but I’ll say this because Alana loved you, much love to you all.

Thank you.

Posted by Bob Devich

Char’s Closet, by Alana, 1996

Char’s Closet
Alana Nicole Devich Cyril, nee Alana Nicole Devich, AKA Muffy
Alana wrote this essay at Oxford in 1996 as a Mother’s Day gift.

My mother is what you might call a hoarder. The oldest of twelve in a working class family, she didn’t grow up with a lot of things, and she’s making up for it now. My father has 1/3 of the closet space in their walk-in closet. It is clear when you walk in to the closet that his is the left wall. At some point in the past couple of years my mother’s clothes have started creeping onto my father’s side of the closet. This is when he put the tape on the rod. My mother is now allowed six inches of my father’s side of the closet.

My father’s clothes are neatly folded and hung, and could probably occupy half of the space he uses, but on principle he refuses to let my mother’s things further onto his side. He built her cubbyholes in which she could store her shoes. Ninety-eight cubbyholes—the deal being that she would not have more shoes than could fit in the cubbyholes. My mom soon discovered that she could fit two pairs of shoes in each cubbyhole, and if they were sandals, three or four. Eight years later the cubbyholes are full, she’s got a stack of shoes on top of the cubbies and shoes lining the floor in front of the cubbies three rows deep. This does not include the shoes she keeps on the other wall of the closet, or the shoes in the other closets.

I usually make it home to visit my parents once or twice a year; each time I go home I help my mom clean out the closets. There is the walk-in closet in the master bedroom (my dad’s clothes as well as my mom’s everyday work clothes, shoes, belts and purses), the side closet in the same room (more of mom’s shirts, and piles and piles of new hosiery and socks) the closet in the den (mostly skirts, suitcases, and less-often used bags), the closet in the guest bedroom (sweaters, dress shirts and last-minute gifts), the closet in my old bedroom (I have yet to categorize what she has in there) and the downstairs closet (coats and other outerwear). Usually we tackle two closets—the master bedroom and the den. We sort through the clothes and talk about work and Dad and who in the family is in jail.

My mom’s theory on shopping is two-fold and simple—she loves it and she does it often. For all of the shopping she does, I have never known her to buy something at full price, and she knows exactly what is in every closet. Walking into her closets is like going into a clothing store, Char’s Closet. See something you like, but the color isn’t right, keep looking, she’s got four more in other colors. She does the same thing with books and videos. When Peter Pan went on sale, she bought four copies. One for her, one for me and I’m still not sure what she did with the other two. They might have gone to my young cousins, or maybe into the last minute gift closet. She buys at least one copy of every book written by Danielle Steele, Sidney Sheldon, James Patterson and all of the other writers she loves. And all of this isn’t even mentioning the owl figurines or her African masks and artwork.

My mom’s sisters raid her closets annually. They drive up from Southern California in October with empty suitcases in tow. They pull out all of the clothes, throwing them onto the bed and sorting them into piles. Diane, for example, takes the purple clothes. After they are done, the closet is still in disarray, and I come home a few months later and actually organize it; throwing the clothes back on the bed and sorting them into four piles—clothes to donate, clothes to put back in the closet, clothes for me, and clothes to put into one of the other closets. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my mother plans for these events—buying clothes she would never wear because she thinks one of us might like them. Her closets are filled with clothes that still have the tags on them, and it always surprised me when one of those articles of clothing fit me perfectly.

Closets have always been a magical place of abundance for me. Overstuffed closets soothe me. I imagine myself burrowing through the clothes and shoes, and curling up in the back. Safe. Thanks to my mother’s frequent shopping sprees, my childhood closet was like a miniature version of my mother’s—overstuffed with identical sweaters in different colors. My passion, however, was for books. My books overfilled the shelves in my room, so my dad built two bookshelves, which I put in my closet. When I was upset or angry I would sneak into my closet, closing the door behind me, and read the titles of the books. I would turn off the light in the closet and lie under my clothes so I could reach up and brush the back of my hand along the bottoms of the pants and skirts. I would reach out and run my index finger along the spines of the books, as if these things would bring me comfort. And I suppose they did, but by then I was really waiting for my mother to notice my absence and knock on the closet door.

She would knock and I wouldn’t respond, waiting instead for her to walk in and close the door behind her and wait for me to tell her about my problem. She never knocked too early, before I had sorted through the thoughts in my head, and she never waited too long. Mother’s magic.

Now I’m too old to curl up in closets. And while I have the perfect burrowing closet right now, I settle instead for opening the closet door and looking in at the clothes and shoes before laying face up on the bed, spread-eagle, as if I were preparing to make snow angels. Going home and cleaning out my mom’s closets is the closest I get to those moments from my childhood, surrounded by clothes and listening to the sound of my mother’s voice.

Oxford, 1996

Did I Mention Alana Liked Hair?

Muffy watched the movie of Hair many times before she saw a live performance. This is the program for one of the first performances she attended — at San Jose State University. She was 14 years old and she loved the nude scene at the end of Act I.

Posted by Bob Devich