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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)


Missions come with risks. They usually don't think about that. They have many ways of not thinking about it and given how many missions they've been on, some of them have not been thinking about it for a very long time.

They were just waiting for a new mission to start. Then somepony came along and asked them to write down every medical circumstance under which, by their own legally recorded desire, they would prefer to die.

And now the thoughts won't stop.

(Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 88 )

Author's Public Note: Non-spoiler: there is no character death in this story. However, given the central topic of discussion, I felt the tag was warranted.

Chapter title suggested by Sanguine Potato.

Some of you know why this story exists. To all of those readers, and everyone else who just happens to come along: make sure you put it in witnessed writing. Because if the time comes, no one can read your mind. And the only person who knows what you want is you.

Oof, that was a hard read. It was hard read, but also a good read. Got a little misty-eyed for some of it. Much love and hugs.

I'm assuming this is pre Twilicorn? Or you just have it be where Celestia and Luna never die. No matter who might be an alicorn.

You've made all of this so complicated that it makes my brain hurt to even try and start at the very begining and work from there.

Great story though.

Argali... ah. A kind of mountain sheep, some of which can in fact be found in Kazakhstan.

Suitably chilling tale, with a very important message indeed. Thank you for grinding this out. Sorry for the lack of more detailed analysis; doesn't feel suitable to do a line-by-line riff on this subject matter.

damn... masterfully done but still, even knowing what to expect going in, this was heavy. still, once again, this was very well written and i thank you for the story.

And in truth, the greatest power over another is the power over life and death- and when one is allowed to cross it. Choose who to give it to carefully, because I've seen someone who lost the ability to choose for themselves, and hated. Themselves. The people who cared for the broken shell, that he used to call family. Life, beauty, meaning. All of it trapped in a withering body that extinguished itself a stroke and a heart attack at a time, hating.

Nothing you love should descend to that. So choose when and who, and I hope the choice is an easy and right one.

Beautiful, Estee. I know this come from a source of personal pain, so I guess that's why. Writers write what they know, for better or for worse. Even then, to produce something like this in the span of a day is masterful. You are a natural writer, able to take anything you've experienced, give it a coat of pastel ponies and strike close to home for serious topics.

Thank you.

Damn, this is heavy and powerful, especially knowing some of what prompted it; but it's something that we all ought address while we can and update it as needed. And I think all of their responses are perfectly in character, but I do worry about Twilight's responsibility for Spike here. I suppose she really ought to have a talk with him about this at some point, and update it.

Beautifully well done. It does make me wonder how all this got lost but it make me sad, it was not unexpected that Twilight would have the hardest time with all of it. I think they should discuss with Twilight how she should move on after their deaths. That has been my biggest drawback of the whole immortal alicon thing is that she will far out live her friends and most of her family.

Even when you’re going through such hard times yourself you find a way to craft the pain into something beautiful. Thanks for the story, thanks for the nag too: I may have been putting off that little chore myself... Modern medicine can do so many whizzy things these days but it’s sometimes unaffordably expensive, and in more than just dollars too!

A light-hearted romp through a new and novel subject. Estee never disappoints. (much like a sledgehammer) Now, I need to go fill out some paperwork.

So many tough questions to wrestle with in this story, combined with faithful characterization of each of mane 6. I'm surprised that the dialog did not feel excessive as I was reading it. In fact, I imagine this being a movie or a beautiful one-room stage show. And I would give you a standing ovation.

My heart goes out to you and the situation with your mother.

What a heartfelt fic! Raises some questions I've been avoiding asking myself. Knowing about the situation that prompted this fic only makes it all the more important to think about.

Great timing, Raven. Just before they head out on a mission to a distant and poorly known land: that will make the trip relaxing, surely.

A powerful piece of work.

"After I thought about it a little more, I cancelled the springs. It felt like a really mean thing to do and besides, I don't know how I'm going to die. Springs might mean everypony has to stop the party and look for pieces."

At times I think you don't write Pinkie wacky enough, but this is a gem.

I like the notion that Dash thinks she could just become some other sort of champ if she lost the ability to fly (a response to other fanfics? We all know which kind. :raritydespair:)

"Somepony told me that if anyone with fur that's browner than yours tells you that the food is spicy, you'd better believe them."

Given how Pony colors work, this just seems a bit weird.

@morion87: I suspect that in the Triptych-verse even the immortal sort of Alicorns die if you hit them hard enough (and that's not taking into account things like magic-stealing Centaurs), although they might be senescence-proof. Whether they can receive injuries they can't heal from, remains unclear, Tish the Time-share Alicorn's constant bone-cracking transformations possibly having more to do with Chaos than Alicorn magic.

@Fanofmosteverything "Argali... ah. A kind of mountain sheep, some of which can in fact be found in Kazakhstan."

So it is a Kazakhstan reference? Now I wonder if there is a Pony comedian who goes around pretending to be an incredibly bigoted mountain sheep.

Goddamn, Estee. If I envy you for anything, it's for your talent to take something like the horrific experience you're currently going through, and turn it into something amazing and heartfelt like this. I'm not strong enough to do that. I am nowhere near strong enough to do that. Words just completely fail me.

Wow. That was very powerful, and I do know where it's coming from. Serious kudos in getting your readers to think on this; definitely got me to. I don't remember if I've filled an official AD out myself... I ought to check next time I go in for an appointment. I know I've talked to certain family members about it on occasion. I'm in the same boat as Rarity, Pinkie, and Rainbow; if I lose my sense of self—in whatever manner that may be—or become vegetative, I don't want to burden anyone.

It also is definitely worth noting:

"It's a party. I want ponies to celebrate my life, Twilight. It's okay to be sad that I'm gone, and I know there's times when everypony's going to miss me.

This. This is the way to think about death. It isn't only about mourning that someone is gone. It's also about celebrating that they were alive, and that you have great memories with/about them.

A powerful message. An important one given what is happening in your life. Stay strong.

There is a feeling that the unicorn wasn't really supposed to give the this paperwork in a group like this, with no desk or the ability to legally consult a lawyer or doctor. There wasn't any time because there was a mission but it feels like the unicorn wasn't supposed to do this.

I hope Twilight don't turn too crazy on the boat with nothing to study for so long... oh boy, there is a big chance the crew will have to stop her from magiking the boat :pinkiecrazy:

You talked in another story on how the doctors Bears regularly take blood from all the Alicorn to study but also for emergencies. Considering the work done and relation the 6 have with the palace, they probably have stocks for the rest too in case of.

And that includes Spike. There is probably no dragon specialist in Equestria however. If he ever get hurt or sick, they will have to study FAST in order to help him. There is a story there too. Especially if you ever decide to handle a story where he molt and finally get his wings.

Comment posted by Dan deleted Dec 30th, 2020

Beautiful and heartbreaking.

I remember a joke.
While leading the Jews out of Egypt, Moses is talking to God
God "I've got Good News and Bad News, Moses"
Moses "Let me have the good news first, God. Because right now I don't think I can take any more bad news."
God "The good news is that I'm going to part the Red Sea and let all the Jews cross. Then, I'm going to wait until the Egyptian army gets out there, let the sea come back, and drown them ALL.
Moses "That's WONDERFUL! What's the bad news?"
God "You have to fill out an Environmental Impact Statement."

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/255661/4/love-and-other-bandages/if-you-cant-cry is how I imagine Pinkie's funeral would go. At least for part of it.

Not a pleasant topic. Never a pleasant topic. But an important one to address none the less.

If you don't mind us asking 10604948

Which character reflects your personal desires the most?

it's Spike. It's his papers.

Man that bit got me hard, god damn.

This was amazing, a brilliant very real topic that you hardly see and you handled it expertly. You can feel the weight and emotions behind each of their decisions, and Applejack’s speech is just so well done.

"So that why y'asked t' borrow"
"So that's why y'asked t' borrow"?

"more than every single edge had been"
"more that every single edge had been"?

"see the horror over which had taken over every"
"see the horror which had taken over every"?

"...think about it," she quietly"
""...think about it," she quietly"?

Masterful, Estee. Words fail me.

I'm glad you didn't go too far with twilight going "I won't let you die!" Territory.

Get your paperwork in order, everybody. And if you have elderly parents and other relatives, talk with them about this. When the bad things happen, it's important for there to be clear, written down and witnessed directives, as well as PoA and a will.

The problem is that there exist in this world people perfectly capable of setting carefully planned contingencies at naught to be a big show off. I've seen it happen.


Estee, you did this topic justice. One that hits hard... especially as I will be at an aunt's funeral in 8 hours and later having a meeting with my mother's quacks (I have a POA which I know you are dealing with). This story and your situation has made me realise that, Iike AJ, I have covered some bases for myself but not all I should have.

Excellent tale. It is important to take care of, so I appreciate this on many levels. The story-telling and character work was wonderful to read, even if the subject matter was dark and grim. I know you're going through the roughest time right now, so it means a lot to me that you can still somehow find a way to give us some beautiful and haunting writing to enjoy. All the Mane Six were perfectly in line with their characterization and it made sense that they would react the way they did here. Thank you for the story. It makes me want to take care of such things myself and encourage my family to do the same. Like AJ said, you can't do something if you don't even know it exists yet.

I love Twilight, so it hurts to see her like this and I want to say "No, that's not like her, she wouldn't be like this," but to be honest, this could really very well be how she reacts. And that only makes it hurt more. Twilight never did handle stress from the unexpected and the unknown well, and having your mortality handed to you on a government form is a double serving of both. Oh Twilight... :ajsleepy:

And then she went and became an alicorn so she has to think about it all over again, and more deeply on an already very deep matter on top of that. So much for only once. :twilightoops:

Most of the Estee stories I've encountered didn't suit my tastes, frankly, but now I know why the likes of SockPuppet swear by Estee. The quality is stellar. I was in a bit of a hurry and worried about the 7.1k word count, but there wasn't a single boring scene. Those seven thousand words flew by; felt like half the words, if anything.

One particular thing that caught my eye was the masterful use of both names and descriptors, not explicitly pointing out ponies but letting the reader's mind work it out. I usually don't take notice of little things like this, but it made the story that much more elegant without a hint of lavender unicorn syndrome.

Welp. I feel like there's more that wants to come out but I don't know how to put into words, and I've already spent more time than I expected on this comment. But it was worth it. Like I said: Stellar.

A difficult subject to contemplate in many ways, but one that offered a good view into the characters of the mane cast, especially what they view as the most important parts of themselves. Add in some dark humor (Pinkie...gah...) and your usual stellar cast interactions and it makes a worthy addition to the continuity and a compelling read.

Reading it right before going to bed probably contributed to some disturbing dreams as my mind turned over certain issues, however... Still, nicely done!

"Yes." Followed immediately by " No. Pinkie, your funeral --"

this reminded me of a sad story where Pinkie's "pinkie sense" warned her she would die in her sleep that night, so she held a Farewell party.

For myself, even severe brain damage wouldn't be enough for me. They once did an experiment where they took a bunch of paintings and asked people to rank them, then offered them some of the lower ranking pictures that they had "extras" of and let them pick one to take home. They asked them back a few days later to repeat the rankings and the ones they picked were ranked higher. They did the same experiment with retrograde amnesiacs and despite them not even remembering that they had ever done the experiment they still ranked the one they selected higher than before. So just because I may not have all of myself there doesn't mean that there isn't still some of me there.

That said, I'd rather not be put on life support in the first place unless the doctors have a strong belief that I will recover. Make it easier on everyone, because it is a hard choice and I wouldn't trust my life to someone who doesn't find it hard.

Oh, I guess I'd better comment on the story itself...I liked Rainbow's determination, although less so her desire to not be seen at the end, although I suppose that's her choice. I also wasn't the biggest fan of how Applejack spoke for Spike. Sure, he may feel that way, but it's not a guarantee.

I thought of the exact same story when in Pinkie Pie's part. I also remembered a story in the future where Twilight mentioned Pinkie would probably have found a way to live forever if she hadn't been so excited to plan her own funeral. Probably for the best she decided to skip the springs.


Link to the Pinkie story, if you have it offhand? My curiosity is piqued. Thank you.

I know this story has come from your personal pain. I've read your blogs but rarely comment as I feel that open sympathy is not what you want or need.

That said, I feel your pain as we looked after our grandma until the end. It doesn't get easier. The best I can wish for you is restful sleep each night.

Good story, as always.
Get some rest.

I find myself agreeing with pinkie's way of thinking. I wouldn't want my family or friends to be sad that I had left, but be happy that I had lived and...id wish for them to be secure in the knowledge that id finally get too meet someone I've wanted to see since I could form memories.

on another note. this story got me crying like a little snot nosed baby and I thank you for this master piece.

I need to go speak with some people now.

This story came out right at a worse time for my fiance's family, so I thought about it.

His 90+ year old grandfather is in the hospital. He was getting better, and going to be sent to a new retirement home (we unfortunately had to have him go into a home as caring for him had just gotten too hard on his Mom and the siblings/partners all can't due to work and distance). But we learned yesterday he has not eaten in a while. Enough to lose almost 20 pounds. Has refused his pills. Has ripped out his IV and has told the nurses he wants to die.

So he will still go to a nursing home. But one where he will be on hospice. This is his choice and...while I don't agree with it, can you truly tell him he can't? I want to, as it has broken my fiance's heart. But...I don't know. This is awful.


My only one I've given has been this: unless my brain is mush or taking care of me will be the most absolute burden where I can't even begin to do one thing myself, I want to keep living until that last ember. That I want no one to give up.

I will probably have to revise this thought someday, as I know this is wholeheartedly selfish. But the me now knows what the me that might be will think. And I will not walk quietly if I can help it.

Just finished my testament and got to go through it with an attorney to make it as legal as possible. And I’m just 25! During this pandemic, I got the inevitable truth: death comes to us all. That made me finish my testimony. It’s bit relief to know that after once death, you will be sure things will not be left alone.

I wish to turn into antimatter and blow up whatever half of the planet I happen to be on at the time!

GO OUT WITH A BIG BANG (kind of attack...)


Irreversible brain death. Then be placed in a burlap sack and have a tree planted over me.

10605748 Meh, I came to terms with the inevitability of death a long time ago. Comes of watching the news and documentary-style shows since the age of 2.

By the time I was 8, death was basically a frustratingly inconvenient side-effect of being an organic life form.

But, as I got older, I witnessed fates worse than it: neural degradation. Watching a person be slowly dismantled into less than a slug's capability for self-reliance was something far more gruesome to me than mere cessation of all processes required to maintain homeostatic equilibrium.

My mother has now been in that situation for 7 years, for the most recent and most in-person example I've witnessed, and has only hardened my resolve that such an existence is NOT living. The sputtering, stuttering, withering remnants of a mind irreversibly damaged to such a degree that not even enough remains to present the 'ghost' of who the person once was are as dismal a sight as I can imagine.

7 years, barely aware of existence... lessening with every passing day; utterly helpless to stop the degeneration. That, as far as I'm concerned, is truly hell on Earth.

Amnesia is a very different condition from the more generalized and global forms of brain damage such as Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.

I've witnessed is personally with both family and close friends. I would liken it to losing pieces of a picture one by one, but never even being aware they were there in the first place. Eventually, nothing is there, and the empty vessel simply stares at an empty frame.

This body I inhabit is not me. I could swap it with one far stronger and better, and still remain myself. Why, we now can replace pieces and parts with relative ease! Flush out and regrow a whole new hematopoietic system with bone marrow transplants! So, the mind, the squishy mass of fat and neurons that looks like a pale version of Krang from TMNT floating about in the chamber buffered by cerebrospinal fluid holds the thoughts, memories, and patterns of cognition and reason which compose 'me'. When it's gone, so am I, even if not another cell in the body is changed.

10605305 Damn, God... so much for being merciful!

Though... excellent trolling of your servant. I approve. :trollestia:

Old Testament God was a LOT harsher than in the New Testament.
For example, when some people mocked Elisha for being bald,
God sent bears to kill & eat them.

It's been 45 years, but one of my college roommates was a BIG John Prine fan.

Oof. I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Thanks, 2020, for the plentiful reminders of the many sorts of death one can suffer. Two people from my hometown community suffered brain death as a result of COVID complications - one was removed from life support, while the other is still alive, for whatever value of 'life' that is). My mom and I had a long talk about DNRs after that.

It's a hard topic, but everybody should give it some thought, regardless of what choice they make in the end. I still don't know the answer for myself, but I'm thinking hard.

... let's not discuss theology here, please.

Yes, I’ve lost a grandmother whom I lived with to Alzheimer’s, and my father is currently in a memory care facility for a different condition where he is mostly beyond speech and rarely will make eye contact, when only a few years ago he was home and, while deteriorating, was still mostly himself.

It’s sadly something that far too many families have to face eventually.

After this and all the talk of mortality I think the girls will have to keep an eye on Twilight. She will probably start working on ways to keep her friends and family's from deaths door. And knowing Twilight insanity while doing so is a option.

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