As an estate planning attorney, I’ve had the great privilege of working with many individuals who are nearing the end of their lives.
Although elderly and sometimes not in the best of health, they don’t let age slow them down. They travel and spend time with family. They help those in need and spend time enjoying hobbies or work they never got around to doing in their younger days. They make a difference.
They aren’t sitting around waiting to die. They are living life to the fullest.
My clients inspire me, as does Norma Bauerschmidt, a woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer last year when she was 90 years old.
Instead going through surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, and moving into a nursing home, she chose to live the rest of her life driving around the United States with her son and his family in an RV. She chronicled her journey in a Facebook page she titled Driving Ms. Norma.
Ms. Norma died on September 30, 2016, but not before experiencing a journey of a lifetime! Her family wrote on her Facebook page the following summary of the past year:
We have driven the RV nearly 13,000 miles and slept in over 75 different locations in 32 states.
We helped celebrate our National Park Service’s 100th anniversary by visiting a couple dozen national parks, monuments and recreation areas from coast to coast and north to south.
Miss Norma has experienced more “firsts” than we can count. Big things, like riding in a hot air balloon or on a horse, to little things like getting a pedicure or having her first taste of key lime pie, oysters and fried green tomatoes. She has had her hair done by ten different stylists and has crossed the time zones 9 times (I think.)
Over these past 12 months, all of us have learned so much about living, caring, loving and embracing the present moment. No matter where we are, when asked where her favorite spot has been on this trip, Norma now says, “Right here!”
Ms. Norma could have opted for treatment instead of driving around in an RV for the rest of her life, but it likely would not have brought her or those who loved her as much joy.
Mark Twain wrote: “Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day in your life.”
Despite her diagnosis, it seems that Ms. Norma did just that!