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91-year-old Norma Bauerschmidt's cross-country road trip has come to an end... but not before the Michigan native could inspire hundreds of thousands with her adventurous spirit.
Just days after watching her husband die in hospice care, Bauerschmidt was diagnosed with uterine cancer and opted to forego treatment in favor of a happier ending: life on the road with her retired son and daughter-and-law in a 36-foot mobile home.
Since embarking in August 2015, the family has shared highlights of her bucket list journey via a Facebook page called Driving Miss Norma, which at publish time had nearly 450,000 followers. But the most recent update brought the sad news that Bauerschmidt had passed away on September 30.
The post quoted poet Rumi, stating that "Life is a balance / between holding on and letting go."
While the family is certainly mourning the loss of "Miss Norma," it seems that she truly lived her final year to the fullest.
“We see a spark in her eye that we haven’t seen in a very long time,” her daughter-in-law, Ramie, told TODAY in February. “She’s up for most anything.”
She added, “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."
In September, the family parked their motor home on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington due to Norma's declining health.
While they described the final leg of their three-person-journey as "ugly, messy and hard," they continued to make memories up through the end, and were happy to do so in "the most ideal place [they] could imagine."
Rest in peace, Miss Norma — or in transit, if you so choose!