Family Holiday a Blessing
Clyde isn’t much of a talker but his face communicates more than words. When you see the photos of his recent trip to Disneyland with his siblings, Clyde’s smiles say it all: I love my family. I love my friend. I loved being with them all. And I love Disneyland!
Clyde, his siblings Garry and Nancy, and his support worker, Knocks, spent 5 days in California enjoying Disneyland, the beach, and each other’s company. Because Clyde lives in BC and his brother and sister live in Alberta, opportunities for family time together are rare and precious.
This was particularly a blessing because we don’t exactly live close to each other geographically so any opportunities to interact in person are truly special. – Garry and Nancy, Clyde’s siblings.
Clyde has been with Communitas since the mid-80s. After some time spent living in Woodlands Institution in Vancouver, Clyde moved into one of Communitas’ first residences. At the time, institutional living was the only option for people living with developmental disabilities (if they were not living with family). It wasn’t until the province of BC began the process of deinstitutionalization and approached organizations like Communitas to create homes in community that those living in places like Woodlands were given an opportunity for a life filled with dignity, care, and love. Garry says that he is amazed at how Clyde managed to maintain his love for his family and his positive personality despite the challenges with which he has lived.
“If there is one thing anyone could say about Clyde through all of this was that he most clearly loved each and every member of his family,” Garry says. “Even through very trying times he maintained his sunny, easy-to-please, disposition.”
It’s also true that Clyde’s family loves him. When the opportunity to vacation together came around, they chose Disneyland because it is a special place for Clyde. He had visited the famous theme park in the past with his father and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Given Clyde’s care needs, it was also important that Knocks was able to join them. While the staff at Disneyland were very accommodating, both Garry and Nancy say that Knocks’ ongoing care for Clyde made the trip an excellent experience for all.
“Knocks was amazing with his care and friendship with Clyde,” Nancy says. “We could not have done this trip without him.”
Knocks, who has been with Communitas for five years, says that while he enjoyed the opportunity to be on this trip, his favourite part of the whole experience was seeing how much pleasure Clyde derived from being with his family. It was clear to him that these siblings really love each other.
“Clyde really loved being with his brother and sister,” Knocks says. “They were always smiling and laughing and hugging each other.”
Clyde agrees, smiling and nodding as Knocks speaks. He also had a clear favourite experience at Disneyland: one that involved a ‘race’ with other ride-goers.
“Cars!” he says, enthusiastically. “We won!”
Garry and Nancy are grateful that Knocks could join them and facilitate Clyde’s care. They’re also grateful that the administrative staff at Communitas helped them navigate the details that made this trip possible.
“We never got to spend too much time with Clyde over the years because of living so far apart,” his siblings say. “This was a great chance for us to spend some time together that we very much needed and loved.”