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Commemorating Miss Norma’s End-of-Life Road Trip

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

Miss Norma, a 90-year-old woman from northern Michigan, was recently diagnosed with uterine cancer a few months before. The diagnosis came just two days after her husband of 67 years passed away, also from cancer. Likely cancerous, Norma’s mass could be treated with chemotherapy and surgery, but it wasn’t certain that she would survive the process. Instead of enduring the treatment and putting excess strain on her 101-pound body, Miss Norma chose to take the trip of a lifetime and enjoy the last stage of her life by traveling across the U.S. Her final journey serves as an inspiration to both seniors and their Milwaukee, Wisconsin, caregivers.

“An exhausted Norma looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, ‘I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road,’” read a Facebook post that her daughter-in-law Remie posted.

Miss Norma hit the road in a motorhome with her son Ted and daughter-in-law Remie as they set out to visit some of the most popular attractions and landmarks in the U.S. Their first stop was Mount Rushmore in South Dakota before traveling on the open road to Florida, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Louisiana. Some of the most popular places that the trio visited included Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains, and Roswell, all of which had been on her bucket list for years. The adventure even included a ride in a hot air balloon. 

“She’s living life and not in an end-of-life mentality,” said Remie. “She’s in the present moment.”

Over 66,000 people began following Miss Norma’s Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma, to stay updated on her inspiring story that allowed her to take advantage of each day of her life until the end. Instead of undergoing painful and exhaustive treatment methods, the woman took the news in stride and used it as an opportunity to pursue an adventure. In doing so, she has encouraged families and Milwaukee in-home care providers to openly discuss end-of-life plans with seniors.

Learn more about end-of-life planning and plan for your loved one’s current state with help from Home Care Assistance of Milwaukee. Our premier live-in, hourly and respite in-home care in Milwaukee helps seniors adjust to illness or injury in the comfort of home. Additionally, our services boost physical, mental and emotional wellbeing using individualized care plans. Customize a care plan for your loved one today by calling (414) 964-8000 to speak with a friendly Care Manager.