This book comes out of an in-depth, qualitative study of the experiences of twenty-three families in which one parent was dying of cancer. The study attempted to better understand the impact of terminal illness on the entire family system and sought to develop a theoretical framework that would guide the assessment of and services to such families. As a result of interviews with patients, spouses and their adult children over three phases of the study, the process of fading away was identified and conceptualized in terms of various phases which contributed to this process. The book is not a research report but rather presents more generally the ideas that developed from the study, with two purposes: to increase the reader's understanding of particular experiences that families encounter when dealing with terminal illness, specifically cancer. The intended readership also includes families themselves: to propose guidelines for care to be considered by practitioners working with such families.