Tidings of Comfort & Joy

“We were at his house just talking in the front yard, when suddenly, he took off running right in the middle of a sentence,” Jodie McEwan said. “But then I understood why —to help a neighbor who was cutting down a tree that would have fallen down on top of him. He saw it happening out of the corner of his eye and rushed to help.”

That was Bruce, Jodie’s son. Bruce was the kindest man in town. He would drop everything to help anyone. He coached a girls’ softball team and was very involved in the community. He was also the proud father of two and grandfather of six. Then, in 2013 he was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer and passed away just one year later.

“Everywhere I went, people told me how much they missed Bruce and how sorry they were and how sad they felt,” Jodie said. “I couldn’t go anywhere; everything reminded me of Bruce.”

Bruce was Jodie’s youngest son, and the two were thick as thieves. He was beloved in his hometown of Carleton, Michigan, and so was his mother, Jodie. After spending 36 years as a librarian at the Carleton Library, Jodie decided to retire and move to Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC).

“I spent all my time consoling others, but I needed to be consoled,” Jodie said. “I knew I would be embraced and supported at CRC and that I could finally grieve.”

Jodie’s mother had lived at CRC, and her church supported CRC – she was always planning on retiring there. So, six months after Bruce passed, and just one week before Christmas, she packed up her 4-bedroom, 2 ½ bath house, and moved to CRC.

“I was ready to go,” Jodie said. “When I told my kids that I was moving, they were so happy for me. I needed to be somewhere new. The CRC staff and residents gathered me in like a lost sheep.”

Two years later, Jodie is thriving. You’ll see her out socializing around Dancey House, volunteering in the Mezzanine Gift Shoppe, or helping with the CRC Building & Ground Committee. She “knows no strangers” and is intentional about getting to know each new resident so they feel as loved and accepted as she does.

“I’ve found comfort, joy, and new friends,” Jodie said. “It’s like my soul came back together. I will never be over Bruce’s passing, but I am choosing to be positive and choosing joy.”

Jodie is outgoing, gregarious, and tenacious—which she attributes to her Scotch-Irish heritage and growing up with her father, who was a full-bird colonel in the United States Army during WWII. Growing up, Jodie and her family frequently moved – 15 different times just during grade school!

Jodie has a large, loving, and supportive family of three children, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson.  Most of her family lives within an hour of her new home in Chelsea and visit her often.

“I choose joy because when I show that I can still be joyful, then whomever I’m with will feel joy too,” Jodie said.