Norma Jean Bauerschmidt was a national celebrity, but many of you may not have heard of her. Her story began a little over a year ago. Her husband of 67 years had just passed away, and a few days later, Norma was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer. The doctors wanted to do chemo and radiation, but the 90-year-old woman said: “no, that is not for me.” When asked what she would do, she told the doctor that she was going to travel – and travel she did.
For the next year, thanks to her retired son Tim and daughter-in-law Ramie, Miss Norma took to the road in an RV. Instead of hospitals or a nursing home, she had days filled with fun, interesting faces, and places. “Driving Miss Norma,” a Facebook page, was a journal of her life in the past year and has almost a half-million followers. Note: all photos on this page have been shared from Facebook.
As we traveled along with Miss Norma, we saw her many firsts. She traveled out west for the first time, had a hot-air balloon ride, rode a horse, was on TV, had a pedicure and a lot more “firsts”. It was very difficult to pick photos of her joy during this year. There are just so many. If photos of her below have anything to say, I would say that she was having the time of her life!!
The other part of this equation was, of course, Tim & Raimie. The photos below show the smiles and love that was shared by this family.
The map below shows some of the places that this family traveled in the last year. The map is not quite accurate because they made it to Washington state which is where she passed.Below is one of my favorite photos of Miss Norma. She was taking her best friend, Ringo, for a ride. The photo was taken on August 29th, just shortly before Miss Norma entered Hospice. She passed away on September 30, 2016.
This story, my friends, is eldercare at it’s finest. I know that we can’t all take to the road but wouldn’t it be grand to have this kind of dignity at the end of life. Rest in peace, Miss Norma.
Added 8/6/2016: I love what Miss Norma’s obituary ended with, so I thought I would add it to this post: It read:
- “Ramie suggested that, instead of making donations to any one entity, people be inspired to find their own ways to “infuse some joy in the world. Pay it forward in their own community. Pay it forward in their own family. Take your grandmother out for lunch… Heck, take her out for a beer!”