This book provides a unique view of patients, families, and their caregivers striving together to maintain comfort and hope in the face of incurable illness. The narratives weave together emotions, physical symptoms, spiritual concerns, and the stresses of family life, as well as the professional and personal challenges of providing hospice and palliative care. Based on a vast amount of participant observation and in-depth interviews, the book moves far beyond dry technical manuals for symptom control and tired clichés about death with dignity, to depict the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the daily in patients' homes and the palliative care unit. It captures the breathtaking diversity of people's aspirations and ideals as they face death, and the views of the professionals who care for them. Anger and fear, tenderness and reconciliation, jealousy and love, social support and falling through the cracks, unexpected courage and unshakable faith—all of these are part of facing death in late twentieth-century North America, and this book brings them to life in a portrait of the processes of giving and receiving palliative care.