When 90-year-old Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer this past July, only two days after her husband of 67 years died, she decided to make a big change in her life. She would embark on a badass road trip.
Her doctors suggested surgery, along with chemo and radiation, but Norma said no: “I’m 90 years old. I’m not doing that.” Her son Tim and Tim’s wife Ramie instead gave Norma two suggestions: They would find an assisted living facility for her, or she could join them in their retired life on the road and travel the country together. She obviously chose the latter.
In order to do this, Norma’s house was sold, and she moved into a 36-foot motor home; they now document their travels on their Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma. It’s been a difficult few years for her, as she not only lost her husband Leo, but her brother as well. Traveling has made a positive emotional improvement for her, though, Ramie explained:
“We see a spark in her eye that we haven’t seen in a very long time. She’s up for most anything. She’s living life and not in an end-of-life mentality. She’s in the present moment.”
So far, the group has traveled from Michigan to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, saw bison in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the Grand Canyon, the World War II Museum in New Orleans (Norma served as a nurse in the Navy), and the Kennedy Space center in Florida.
Next month, Norma will turn 91, and is apparently doing quite well, as she is not in pain or suffering symptoms of cancer. I hope she continues to do well–and find her story so inspiring, as she’s making sure to live fully in the present, and simply allow herself to enjoy the moment. Because, really, that’s all anyone can do.
Here are some of my favorite Norma moments: