As they say (whoever they are) it’s never too late to live life king (or queen)-size.
Meet, 91 –year-old Norma, in Michigan. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer, two days after losing her husband who she spent 67 wonderful years with.
Her doctors gave her various suggestions such as chemotherapy, radiation and the like for her cancer, but all Norma said was, “I’m 90 years old, I’m not doing that.”
And so she was left with not just one, but a plethora of choices on what to do with her time left, even if there was no clue to how long that was.
So, instead of moving into an assisted living facility, her daughter-in-law Ramie, asked if she’d like to join her and her husband, for their post-retirement road-trip across the country.1
And Norma said, “Yep. I think I’d like to go along.”
Soon after, Norma’s house became a 36-foot long mobile home on wheels. And within a month, they hit the road for a no-deadline trip across the US.
As a cool throwback of that trip for the future, they documented their adventure as a Facebook page called ‘Driving Miss Norma’.
They wanted to preserve the Norma in all her happy-glory, without shadowing it with the loss she felt after losing her husband. They wanted to bring that spark back in her eyes, especially since she seemed to be up for almost anything.
Any other older woman, the stereotypical ones at least, would rather stay put in a facility, contemplating the end of their lives as they know it, but not Norma.
Their road-trip itinerary took them from Michigan to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon to, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they picked some shells from the beach.
They also went to New Orleans to visit The National Museum of World War II, in which Norma served a nurse for the Navy’s WAVES unit, and was given royal treatment.
Ramie said, Norma is easy to travel with, as she is quiet and someone who is easy-going. They did keep a watch on her, but she did not show any symptoms of the cancer or any sign of pain.
They loved travelling with Norma, especially because of her playful attitude and fun poses in the pictures posted for her Facebook page.
In one she sits on a wheelchair, during their museum visit in New Orleans and her picture captions, “I look bad ass” while in another one, Norma says “Blowing up things? Now that’s FUN!” and she also dressing up in costumes at Cape Canaveral.
A lot of the places they saw were through Norma’s eyes. And Norma’s reactions and interactions showed Ramie, that they were succeeding in making her smile again.
Ramie and Norma, both feel like this road-trip was a gift and when Norma saw all the comments, shares and likes received by the ‘Driving with Norma’ Facebook page, she was touched and said, she could have never done it without them.
So, the next time you see an older person smile or talk to you, know that despite all those years folding in with each wrinkle in that smile; they could be on the last adventure of their lives.
You may be lucky enough to be a family member, friend, witness, cameo participant or even a reader who can take a page from them, like Norma, and go LIVE, no matter what is weighing you down.
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