In June 2015, just two days before her husband of 67 years died, Norma Jean Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer. With the end in sight, the Michigan woman was told her two options were to have surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or to enter a nursing home where she'd receive end-of-life care, reports Mashable. But Bauerschmidt decided on a third option: to join her son and daughter-in-law, her only remaining family, in one final adventure and see the US from the comfort of their Airstream. "They’ve given me a new lease on life," she told CBS News in March.
And now it has come to an end, as her family posted a widely-shared photo of her folded hands on Facebook Friday with a quote from 13th-century poet Rumi: "Life is a balance between holding on and letting go." From their motor home, they wrote: "Today we are letting go." Bauerschmidt died in her bed in the Airstream. But through her Driving Miss Norma page, the 91-year-old gave hundreds of thousands of followers a glimpse into how she chose to leave the world. She saw Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone's Old Faithful, and the Grand Canyon; flew over Florida in a hot air balloon; and spotted orcas off the coast of Washington state. She indulged in her first-ever pedicure in Georgia and had near-unlimited beer and cake. And she taught her fans, as CBS News reports, "It's never too late to live life to the fullest." (Is this the strangest road trip ever?)