On a spring day in April 2016, volunteers who cared for Eric Norwood met at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care to remember a man with a remarkable smile and the journey they took with him. It was an informal celebration of an indomitable spirit and a bond that turned one-time strangers into caregivers and eventually friends.
When he was well, Norwood was a wildlife officer in Gaston County, but moved home to Caldwell County after he became ill. In remembering him and his love for the outdoors, Eric’s volunteers purchased a brick on the Path of Remembrance to place in the garden at Caldwell Hospice’s Kirkwood facility in Lenoir to honor Norwood and the lessons he taught them. They, along with staff who served him, met in April to dedicate the memorial brick.
Norwood had ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. This progressive neurodegenerative disease brought him to Caldwell Hospice, first as a palliative care patient and later for hospice care. In March of 2013 Eric requested residential care at the Forlines Patient Care Unit in Hudson. It was there that an inseparable bond formed between Eric, his volunteers and the staff. He died Sept. 11, 2015.
“We had nothing in common, but I am so thankful to have known him,” said Volunteer Patty Williamson. “I think about what would have happened to Eric if Caldwell Hospice wasn’t here.”