In July 2015, a 90-year-old woman named Norma lost her husband and, a mere two days later, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Doctors advised the nonagenarian to undergo chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, but according to her daughter-in-law Ramie, Norma simply said, “I'm 90 years old. I'm not doing that.” Both Ramie and her husband discussed alternative options with Norma, explaining that they could find an assisted living facility for her or she could join them on the road as they travel the country together. Norma instantly chose the latter option. “She knows our lifestyle,” Ramie told TODAY. “She said, ‘Yep. I think I'd like to go along.'”
To make Norma as comfortable as possible, the family sold her residence and bought a 36-foot motor home. With their poodle companion in tow, the trio set off in August 2015 for a trip around America. On their Driving Miss Norma Facebook page, viewers can follow the family's adventures and witness the wonderful time Norma's having on the road. “We see a spark in her eye that we haven't seen in a very long time. She's up for most anything,” explained Ramie. “She's living life and not in an end-of-life mentality. She's in the present moment.”
Thus far, Norma and her loved ones have visited places like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Canyon. Since Norma served as a Navy nurse in the WAVES unit, they also visited The National World War II Museum. “She said, ‘I could have never done this without the two of you,'” Ramie shared, adding that Norma is not in pain or suffering from cancer symptoms.
“We love traveling with her. We've been to a lot of these places, but we're seeing them through fresh new eyes and it's fun to see her reactions and meet people on the road,” Ramie concluded. “We go out of our way to make her smile and it becomes this ripple effect that's powerful for all of us.”