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This commentary examines themes identified in twelve physicians' narratives recounting their experiences in caring for seriously ill family members. In these narratives, physicians describe heavy emotional burdens and other impediments to sound medical decision-making with and for their loved ones. The physicians struggled to balance their roles as physicians and as loving family members, and they employed their professional role in a variety of different ways. Several physicians became personal physicians to their family members, and others deliberately avoided that role. Serving as personal physician to a close family member is widely viewed as a violation of a professional boundary, and adopting that role may expose physicians to sanctions. These narratives offer lessons to physicians regarding their roles in caring for family members and in supporting family members of patients with grave illnesses.