When Miss Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer at the age of 90, shortly after the death of her husband of nearly seven decades, she was advised to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. But instead of confining herself to a hospital bed for what could be her last stay, Norma rose to her full height of five feet and told her doctor, “I’m ninety years old. I’m hitting the road.”
— Driving Miss Norma – One Family’s Journey To Saying “YES” To Living
I’ve always been really open when answering questions about my Mom losing her cancer battle at the young age of 65. Even then, unless you have been through such a journey, I knew that many people couldn’t possibly understand what it was like.
The love. The pain. The hope. The heartbreak.
Reading Driving Miss Norma, I was presented with so many parallels to taking care of my Mom in her sickness with my Dad and twin sister. The book made me feel that after the last two years of feeling largely misunderstood about everything I put in and everything that was taken out of me from that journey, that I was finally understood. By complete strangers who I have never met. Miss Norma’s adventures spoke to my soul. The book was hugely therapeutic, even as I bawled through so many words that described what similarly physically happened to my Mom during her journey.
And, Driving Miss Norma, of course, further ignited my wanderlust. If there’s one thing the loss of my dear Mother and reading this journey to saying “YES”, has taught me, it is that life is too short. And, that it’s never to late to start to say “YES” to really living. The world is a huge, interesting place with so much to discover and it is up to you to live your life on your own terms.
Miss Norma was and still is such an inspiration to celebrate life and live it to its fullest. It was hard for me to put the book down because it really felt you were along for the journey and found yourself smiling, laughing and crying along with them. After following Miss Norma on her adventures online and reading the book, it really is no surprise that her story was given such international coverage. More than half a million fans followed her journey and still watch for updates on the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page, even though Miss Norma’s journey has now changed and her son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Ramie, live on to tell the world about the incredible Miss Norma.
On the wanderlust side of things, I found myself discovering so much that I didn’t know about the world. The highlights of places we have not yet been, and added a ton to our travel wish list that we now wish to discover for ourselves around the United States. In one year, their journey took them in their RV “nearly 13,000 miles (20,900 kilometres) and (they) slept in over 75 different locations in 32 states”. Their journey began when they left Norma’s home in Presque Isle, Michigan, and headed west toward Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. The journey ended a year later in Friday Harbour, Washington, after discovering many National Parks, the Kennedy Space Centre, Walt Disney World, Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, to name a few.
It is such an uplifting and life-affirming memoir; there really is no other way to describe it. It shows you what the human spirit really is capable of and that there really still is good left in the world. Everyone deserves the chance to live ‘richly’ with their eyes and heart open. Miss Norma taught the world how to do just that. There is nothing to fear but fear itself and Miss Norma is sure to continue to be a huge inspiration for anyone who hears her story.
Had you heard of Driving Miss Norma? When was the last time you were really inspired to explore the world?