At 90 years old, a woman from Michigan named Norma is living life to the fullest on a road trip across the United States.
Just two days after Norma’s husband of 67 years passed away, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Doctors gave her the options of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. She decided she would forgo any treatment, telling the doctors, “I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road.”
Norma’s son, Tim, and daughter-in-law, Ramie, are full-time RVers. Since Norma couldn’t live at home alone without her husband, they invited her to join them on the road. Six months later, the three of them, along with their poodle Ringo, are enjoying the trip of a lifetime.
Ramie, who spoke for the family, said that Norma is a set of fresh eyes on this indefinite road trip.
“She’s very quiet and humble, and then she has this streak of adventure that surprises us.”
Adventure is right. After leaving Northern Michigan in August, their first big stop was Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. From there, they traveled to Yellowstone National Park and then onto the Rocky Mountains. All the while, they've been documenting their adventure on the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page.
They’ve experienced the amazing views at the Grand Canyon, they’ve run around Disney World, and they’ve gone whale watching in Florida.
Norma’s favorite activity was riding in a hot air balloon in Florida, a Christmas gift from Tim and Ramie.
Ramie told ABC News that Norma is feeling better than ever. “She continues to surprise us on this trip," she said. "She’s getting healthier, I think, from eating well and being outside a lot. She’s breathing fresh air and getting to see new things all the time.
“She’s with her loved ones and that’s really important,” she added.
The trio hopes that Norma’s story will help other families to start conversations about end-of-life plans.
“Everyone has different ideas about how they want the end of their life to work," Ramie said. "As a planet, we need to have this conversation.”
Norma, Tim, Ramie, and Ringo are currently exploring the state of Florida. Where to next? That’s up to Norma.