Telling The Kids That You Are Going To Die

GRAYSLAKE, Illinois (AP) -- Seven-year-old Nicholas Chamernik had rarely seen his parents cry. 

So he felt a pang of worry when he looked up one evening to see his father wiping away tears.
"Dad, what's wrong?" he asked.

Jim Chamernik was too choked up to respond. After 18 months of grasping for answers, he and his wife, Aimee, finally had an explanation for symptoms Aimee had been having -- slurred speech and weakness in her right arm among them. The diagnosis was Lou Gehrig's disease, a degenerative condition of the nervous system, also known as ALS.

There is no cure. But how could they explain that to their eldest son, the first in the family to notice his mom's slurring, when she read him bedtime stories? How, they wondered, do you tell a child that his mom is dying? 

Wow. That has got to be so darn hard. I can't imagine being placed in that position.

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