Respecting Dying Wishes

How much consideration should we devote toward a person’s dying wishes? One story that has stuck with me is the story of Aaeru, the deceased founder of fuwanovel. Although I can’t verify parts of it, the story goes that Aaeeu watched Clannad and it made her decide not to kill herself. She then decided to start a website devoted to sharing visual novels and their translations. Whether or not her arguments were sound, she was openly defiant of copyright on an ethical basis, perhaps because she had nothing to lose.

However, Aaeeu was always vanishing and going in and out of a Taiwanese hospital with a terminal disease. A few years ago she vanished in her early 20’s, and has been presumed dead. Another admin took over her site and dismantled her legacy. All file sharing was removed, and all file hosting. Officially the site would only exist to promote official legal translations now, presumably for profit as a marketing affiliate. Clearly Aaeeu would not have wanted this.

So then, how much consideration should we put towards dying wishes? Aaeru’s entire legacy was destroyed by a traitor who waited until she was no more to take action. Isn’t that highly disrespectful of the one thing she accomplished, and the one thing that gave her life meaning?

Likewise, when my grandmother was literally dying she wanted me to promise to get along well with my mother. You’re holding her hand and so you have to at least lie and say yes so they relax, even if you think they’re being manipulative and disrespectful of your wishes.


P.S. in the first case the problem is of the inheritor not respecting the direction, conditions, and expectations of the deceased.

In the second case, problem comes from the dying not respecting the rights of the living to behave as they please when they’re gone.

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I was also just talking to someone who was complaining about living with a genetic disease that confines him to a posh prison called a hospital for months at a time due to dialysis. I’ve come to see death as a misunderstood friend. There will be a time when you are sick and suffering, and death will bring us peace.

Death too is an instrument of change and renewal. With death evolution is possible, and the old don’t remain to try and force themselves on the lives of the young. It’s natural to want to leave a legacy when you’re about to die, and many go so far as to exert themselves even after death forcibly with “dying wishes”, guilt trips or contracts, but at least their influence has been greatly weakened!

I can’t say I would want it any other way.


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