I used to be a hospice nurse and the phrase “giving permission” is used a lot when it comes to the dying process. Family members often have to give permission for a person to die – otherwise they never let go of the feeling that they are needed here to care for the people they are leaving behind which can lead to a long and “lingering” death. Also people who are dying also feel the need to give the people they are leaving behind permission to do things they think that they will have difficulty doing unless they are specifically told it is okay to do so. Ex. Young spouses will often give permission for their spouse to remarry after they die fearing that if they don’t let them know they want them to be happy again they will feel guilty if they find someone they want to move on with. It really isn’t done as a “control” or can’t think for yourself type of thing at all, but something that is done to bring peace and closure to the relationship of a dying person and the people he or she is leaving behind. So I actually found the phrase very appropriate, especially given that Neal was “fighting” against Hook for a second chance with Emma and they kept saying that she needed to make a choice. From that perspective he was telling her that it is okay to move on from what they once had and that he now WANTS her to choose to be with someone else and get what he always wanted to have with her. He did it so she wouldn’t feel guilty about moving on from him – which is why he made her promise him that she and Henry would be happy.