One night last week, a dream woke Cory Wymer at 3 a.m., then stayed with her like a vision.
My husband was crying and I was holding him in my arms, she said. All I wanted to do was see him smile again.
That dream wasnt far from the Wymer familys new reality. Two months ago, James Wymer, 55, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease. ALS is a debilitating disease that attacks nerve cells, eventually paralyzing the body while the mind remains sharp.
Its a death sentence, Cory said. Its been devastating.
Its also been motivating. The morning after her dream, the Graham woman went online, then began making telephone calls.
She, James and her 8-year-old son Jonathan from a previous marriage live in a trailer on a half acre of rented rural land. Christmas was coming, and she thought even a few decorations might cheer her family.
Cory contacted representatives of a company called Christmas Decor after finding its website, and asked if they ever donated decorations. They told her someone would get back to her.
Erik Hodson did. The general manager of Puyallups Whitworth Pest Control, he also is a seasonal representative of Christmas Decor. In the winter, when the pest business slows, Hodson and his crews professionally decorate homes.
I was moved by her story, met her and her husband, Hodson said. Hes been given a certain timeline for the end of life, and this year theyve lost a horse, a house, had to surrender a car.
They live in a fifth wheel they bought for $800, then had to fix the leaks, buy a little electric water heater. I agreed to do whatever we could to make it festive.
On Tuesday, Hodson showed up at 11 a.m. with a crew of four and got down to it. Garland was draped along a white fence fronting the property, with bright red bows tied to it.
And while the crew couldnt light the Wymers trailer, they could illuminate a nearby outbuilding that holds a washer and dryer. Hodsons crew set up a small generator and began stringing lights.
There were lights around the roof line and door, and the crew turned the wood shack into something out of Candyland creating windows out of strings of LED lights, then winding dozens of strands around a nearby pine.
James sat in a camp chair watching. Two representatives from the ALS Association Rebecca Moore and Rick Meek were there to chat with the family. They brought gifts for young Jonathan.
After hed opened them a Star Wars Lego set and a game he plays with his stepfather Jonathan was handed an envelope by Hodson. In it was a $100 gift certificate for Toys R Us.
Cory cried. Jonathan beamed. James smiled.
I cant believe what my wife has done, the kindness of all these people, he said. Theyve given us Christmas.
Meek said the organization tries to help ALS victims any way it can, first evaluating the home to see what might be needed as the disease progresses. In the Wymers case, that fifth wheel will need a ramp instead of a three-step stairway.
We have people who can build ramps, we have walkers and wheelchairs, Meek said. The average for this disease from diagnosis to death is two or three years. It can progress slowly or quickly, and theres no way to tell which way it will go.
Once James Wymer requires a wheelchair, life in the trailer may become impossible. Its too narrow to allow him mobility.
There are options we can help with, and helping them find low-cost housing is one of them, Moore said.
Cory Wymer got a Puyallup company, Drain-Pro, to donate a porta-potty for the day. Then she went to a Graham Subway and got sandwiches for everyone, gratis.
I asked if they needed help making sandwiches, and they said Yes, Wymer said. After the first of the year, Ive got a job with them. All my life, Ive been a bookkeeper. Now Im going to be a sandwich maker.
James Wymer had to give up a job as a document courier last month, when his legs and arms began failing him.
On Tuesday, Cory saw her husband smile again when Christmas came early.
Wednesday will be special, too. Its the Wymers one-year wedding anniversary.
Larry LaRue: 253-597-8638