Faith, Family, and Coca-Cola
Curby invites visitors into his tidy, spartan apartment, which he shares with a roommate. He enjoys storytelling and as we sit down to visit, he begins with this:
“I have three reasons for living and they are in this order: faith, family, and Coca-Cola.”
Curby lives with mental health challenges and says that for him, his mental and spiritual health are closely connected.
“I’ve had my ups and downs in life, that’s for sure, but I’m grateful for forgiveness,” he says.
Communitas supports Curby through assisted living services in Chilliwack. Having stable, affordable housing is as important to Curby as the staff support he receives. Natasha has managed the home where Curby lives and says that Curby has done well in the year or so that he’s been with Communitas. He gets along well with staff and values that his independence and choices are respected as they collaborate with him in his recovery journey.
“Communitas’ person-centred approach really works for Curby,” she says. “Having a safe, stable home and knowing that staff are working together with him is important to his success.”
Music is also a very important part of Curby’s life. He first learned to play the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves music that conveys feeling and particularly loves the blues. The first song he ever learned to play and sing was Song Sung Blue, by Neil Diamond. He has attended numerous concerts over the course of his lifetime and recounts meeting many famous musicians. He has written a song (see side bar) called Salvation in the Sun, a song he’s been working on for many years.
“The song is about my relationship with God but also about other relationships that I’ve had,” he says. “I’ve put a lot of myself into this song.”
Curby has a twin brother who currently lives in another province. Despite the geographic distance, the two are very close.
“I think we’re closer than anyone can be,” Curby says. “I talk to him every day and I am looking for a place where we can live together. I have to look out for my brother.”
Curby’s father also played guitar and encouraged his son to pick up the instrument and play. His dad was in the Navy and he is proud of his family’s military heritage.
Curby was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The family eventually settled in Agassiz, BC but he says he moved a lot both as a child and as an adult.
“I moved around a lot growing up,” he recalls. “That’s why I want to have a stable place that I can call home.”
It is with a smile that Curby declares his love for Coca-Cola, saying that it’s a drink that just makes him happy.
“I sometimes call it ‘my holy water’,” he jokes. “Even though it has wrecked my teeth!”
His laughter is hearty and the joke shows his wry sense of humour. At the end of the day, Curby is grateful for all he’s experienced and how far he has come.
“I’m doing really well mentally and spiritually,” he says. “Living here has been really good for me.”