Pascal Derrien

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Random Thoughts About Crab Meat & The Dimness Of Life

Random Thoughts About Crab Meat & The Dimness Of Life

The following may not make much sense except for me but maybe you guys can help tidy up some random thoughts put together about a vague theme. I was thinking, funny how vague theme sounds phonetically very like the word victim, vague theme/victim right 😊.

Well any way, what I was meant to tell you in case you are in the process of running to the kitchen to get an apron is, relax you won’t need one!!! Despite the title and as much as I would love to this ain’t gonna be about cooking, so no need to boil a sweat on that one, right.

I am reading Bruce Springsteen’s book ‘’Born to Run’’ now, well I read three books and all of them very slowly as I am busy with other stuff. The point I want to make is that there’s a passage in the book where Bruce recalls a day trip with his dad when he accompanied him on a delivery. Bruce is a great narrator I must say, he does convey stories about his life extremely well (go get the book), so when I bumped into the expression riding shotgun I obviously and almost immediately thought about Don Kerr’s book Riding Shotgun (which I need to read), then I got lost in day dreaming land and my mind somewhat ended up wandering in a cul de sac. I tried to make a U-turn, but whatever it was it would not let me do just that, instead it directed me to a sombre tunnel of thoughts about cancer.

And then two events on the living edge of life distant in time and location came up to me. One that I have been carrying for a good while and a more recent one.

About 15 years ago, busy but with a window between two flights I rented a car to visit a relative in a nice suburban house in the north of Paris. Being a seasoned traveller and with the reputation of having seen it all, I must admit I had completly misjudged how unprepared I was to witness someone close to me being a passenger on pain train.

I had not anticipated either how this person had become a living skeleton hanging desperately for dear life, I was so unprepared that I froze instantly when I heard the 65-year-old lying in a foetal position asking for her mummy. My senses got shaken, my confidence shattered and when I barely managed to recompose myself I clearly understood that this was disturbingly more than a final ask for deliverance. It was such a contained scream, a painful moaning, a monologue of suffering and regression that I must shamelessly say it became so unbearable it forced me to close my eyes and leave the room…. she died the following day.

That scene has been haunting me ever since and I am very unsure if what I have witnessed was simply a last breath or if it was the inconsolable dimness of life fighting for survival while at the same time asking for it to hurt no more.

This would not be the last time I would meet with the Crab. The Crab, the French nickname for a disease called cancer, one of the only expression that truly gives me the chill, a word that I avoid using so much it gives me goose bumps all over my spine

Four weeks ago, I found myself in the family room of a Dublin hospital being explained that a close family member was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I also heard that day that palliative options were the best course of action as attempting a treatment (that’s a paradox) would more than likely deteriorate his fragile health balance.

Then only a few moments later, I found myself in the same room roughly less than 20 minutes after the medical staff had broken the news to him. I didn’t know what to fucking say but our eyes were talking… mine were saying that I did not have the words or the ability to pretend that I was able to understand.

They say it is not as hard on the elderly, I say I did not know it could be easy. What do you do when someone broke down in front of you in sheer distress, what do you do when they realize in front of you that their life is going to slowly be sinking in an abyss of pain, what do you say when they ask why they were handed a one-way ticket only, what do you answer when they ask if they really deserved it, what is that shit!!!!

So, what man? You want empathy, you want compassion, get your shit together hombre and park your commiseration mobile home someplace else, life and death are part of the journey. I suppose that’s true but it’s not about that. This is not what I was thinking, I was thinking about people spending their life building meagre achievements, winning bitter victories, putting all their efforts in achieving materialistic goals, chasing social status, falling out with one another about money, calling out, bullying or hating people on social media or be contrarian to the point of being the most hated person in their neighbourhood.

Why do people do this to themselves, why do they fall in those superficial life traps when really every single one of us no matter how successful, stupid, cocky or in worst case ignorant of its own individuality realize we are just the same when it comes to mortality. Why do we praise the trivial when it is so superficial?

It does not matter how you want to print your life drawings, it does not matter how you dress up your existence kit and it is not that I particularly like it, but have you ever thought that it is very possible that you and I may probably be nothing more than just


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Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #44

I listen well, then family members will invite my opinion. This is where i earn my PITA standing. One of my key components in maintaining the title is what i read Einstein state, We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. I thought i read a version of this By President Truman. My first thoughts are usually what are you doing differently? Immediately i am placed in the other camp as part of the opposition. I usually follow up the many variations of this statement with, Then you really wanted my vote not a path out. I don't vote in such matters. PITA

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #43

I often say people do what they can not what they want but if you try to be the best the best human you can I buy that (and Bruce's book too) Neil Smith, thnaks so much for dropping by

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #42

wow thats a powerful comment Aaron Skogen , I know people like yourself will always be remembered as good human, in the meantime try like hell to live it well sound like a motto.

Neil Smith

4 years ago #41

My dad, an ex-fireman died of lung cancer a few years ago. He spent a long time in hospitals and the only positive thing about it was that all the family had time to make our peace with each other and with him. The rawness of the experience has never left me and although I fall short of ideal every day I have since tried to be the best husband, father, person that I can be. Life is so fragile and we still manage to miss the important bits. I also would recommend the Springsteen autobiography. Honest, well written and a serious cut above the average rock bio. Thanks for this Pascal.

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #40

Certain member's of my family believe i will live forever as a pain in their ass. I have developed the nick name PITA. This encourages me to maintain the name so that their wishes may be fulfilled. I enjoy your life gnawing pieces. They bring me to the edge of life, where most don't dare go. I learn many things while in that wilderness of self indulgent thinking. I will hang on just to read your future posts. Thanks Pascal Derrien for inspiring the meaningful thoughts you do. A lifetime of existence is long enough, forever would bring about an existence i don't think we could handle.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #39

thanks Harvey Lloyd very thoughtful comments as always and even if you are all set can i ask you to stick around for a little bit longer even if you dont intend to make it last forever :-)

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #38

Seeing the title you got me. Love crab meat (Food) and had no idea that the term was something else over the pond. I too have witnessed the terminality in others eyes on one to many occasions. Some were pure fear and others relief. I do believe that with inner peace comes a completion of our lives and that there is "permission" to leave this world. I meet many folks though who have a paradigm of eternity in the flesh. I know this will be buffeted in their narrative journey. If not their own health then through others. Life has a way of preparing us for death. The question is do we listen to life? Great post and i know we all must face the crab man regardless of his destructive choices of exit. Its a bit gruesome or macabre but i am ready. The few goals of legacy i set many years ago have been met. No i don't want to go today, but i also relegated the fear of death to a minor post-it note. My own doesn't frighten me but seeing within the eyes of others, coulda, shoulda and woulda is painful. Know the end game and leave no coulda, shoulda, woulda's hanging. Today is the chance, as tomorrow is not promised.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #37

thanks Claire L \ud83d\udc1d Cardwell no matter how much the medical profession dedicate time to make things more comfortable it is very harsh to see it progressing :-(

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #36

V. powerful piece Pascal Derrien - takes me back to when my grandmother died - she also had oesophrageal cancer - horrible way to go....

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #35

how Pamela \ud83d\udc1d Williams very generous of you to share some important moments of your life, thnak you I appreciate you :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #34

Joris it is actually Mother's day in ireland so i can tell you it's real altright, banter apart I get what you say :-) so thanks :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #33

thanks Ken Boddie indeed indeed indeed ...... it's mothers day here in ireland and my mum is here (date is different in france) but since she is here she got a presie and she will get another for the french one :-)

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #32

Hopefully, Pascal, our lives are more than a passive means of feeding others. You ask "what do you do when .....?" Well I have absolutely no idea, except to say that spending time, saying the things you should have said years ago, just being there, helping and listening, can't be bad. I missed the passing of both my mum and dad and still regret it to this day.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #31

thanks Deb\ud83d\udc1d Lange indeed be present, as we speak we are getting ready to head to hospital to do just that :-)

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #30

With the Kubler-Ross film, unless we are fascinated by her private sexual counseling regarding grief, I would go straight to the end of this particular movie of professional opinion - It is a kind of spoiler alert for a woman whose story and beliefs are so beloved and constantly quoted and re-quoted.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #29

thanks CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit I dont know because I don't have one but it seems religion is helping in most cases , I am going to check those articles and I did not know Kubler Ross either :-)

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #28

This notion of us individually coming to terms with our mortality is what the anecdotes of Kubler-Ross were about and to that degree she served to get us to think about death, but it is important to point out that her five stages of grief have become an accepted fact, and I guess that shows that death must haunt us that our society gives credence to myth. So long as we throw in the caveat that our view of death is an individual one, we don't risk accepting for facts what has also been debunked by science, in that regard we continue to practice religion far more fervently than we have ever desired to understand science.,9171,2042372-1,00.html

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #27

thanks David Navarro L\u00f3pez exactly me my point and mayve it shoyld be like that too :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #26

thanks debasish majumder great praise from you, much appreciated

David Navarro López

4 years ago #25

Done. Have a look here

David Navarro López

4 years ago #24

We are all going to die someday. This is a fact and one of the few things we can be sure as humans. Nevertheless, death is never present in our lives, we carry on doing things as it would never happen to us. There are so many things I would like to share about this issue, that I am going to make a new buzz. Thank you for calling my attention to such important thing. Will let you know when finished.

Julio Angel 🐝Lopez Lopez

4 years ago #23

In the memory of your circle, what is important to me. Pascal Derrien Thank you for these great reflections.

Louise Smith

4 years ago #22

That's why Journaling is a great tool for processing and accepting difficult life events ! FYI

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #21

thank you Phil Friedman I almost choked with a shuckle when I read Thermador dish :-), many thnaks for the added reflection too :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #20

thanks Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher to the good humans then :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #19

thanks comments on writings much appreciated as always , we should probably make our lives simple and get rid of the clutter :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #18

thanks Sir Praveen Raj Gullepalli always good to have your original perspective on a holy crab :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #17

Indeed Brian and I agree with you on that one :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #16

thanks Dean Owen I thought I would distact you from your Sunday roast by introducing a bit of seafood if thats alright now I get your point it is not easy to digest :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #15

thanks @Julio Angel \ud83d\udc1dLopez Lopez legacy is an interesting angle how about be a good human as an ambition ? :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #14

thanksDevesh \ud83d\udc1d Bhatt for the kind words and praise , your piece is bang on too :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #13

distress#10 thanks Louise Smith comments much appreciated and links too :-) interesting for me that I had to read that I was in distress to realize I was :-) (oh yes thanks for the other post too, I am heading to a run race so will read late)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #12

If so, Pascal, then I choose to be identifiable Dungeness, not non-descript bits for a Thermador dish. Often, from the top of the mountain, the climb seems small and meaningless. And one has a hard time remembering why one chose to climb in the first place. But that is a symptom of the human condition. A very moving reflection. Thanks.

Louise Smith

4 years ago #11

Yes Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher I also like "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Mark Twain

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #10

Geez Dean Owen, you basically summed up in one sentence, that of which took me an entire paragraph LOL. Well said!

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #9

Pascal Derrien this was SO powerful and extremely profound. "What do you say?" Sometimes nothing is better than saying something one might regret. There is no right or wrong when a person is dying, at least that's what I've been telling myself since we lost my mom to cancer. As for the other things you mentioned, wow... I wish more people would understand that. There is no need to be mean to anyone on Social Media. There is no need to be mean to others in real life. Memories made are treasures we can't replace but material items can always be replaced. Society has become so money driven and some people place more emphasis on being rich and having klout vs. putting their fellow humans first. I'm sorry someone close to you was just diagnosed. Let me end this by stating, I've met some people who do very well in life but they still find time to put others first and they take that seriously. We need to focus on the good around us.

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #8

Bravo Pascal Derrien This one is a killer. Because of the facts you just outlined. "Why do people do this to themselves, why do they fall in those superficial life traps when really every single one of us no matter how successful, stupid, cocky or in worst case ignorant of its own individuality realize we are just the same when it comes to mortality. Why do we praise the trivial when it is so superficial?" Why couldn't we all be in the Graden of eden ? eh ?

Louise Smith

4 years ago #7

Hi Pascal I think you wrote down well what happened to you. I could feel your distress. You might like to consider - when you are first confronted with these situations for the very first time, you will be at a loss and in shock - You may then be dealing with * Feelings of helplessness and inadequacy which can become anger and and guilt * Anticipatory grief: a grief reaction that occurs before an impending loss. Typically, the impending loss is a death of someone close due to illness but it can also be experienced by dying individuals themselves. Can you remember the first funeral you went to ? What did you do? How did you feel? And fast forward to a time when you had been to a number of funerals. What was different? It's like anything, the first time is the hardest but then you establish coping strategies. So even if the event is terrible, you are as much at a loss even if you have strong feelings. Often what to do is really simple. Just be there. You don’t need to talk all the time, it’s the companionship that is most appreciated. This is helpful:

Dean Owen

4 years ago #6

The shadow of death is constant reminder to live well. Nice cheery post to start of my Sunday!

Crabmeat that leaves a trace? if possible. ;-)

Devesh 🐝 Bhatt

4 years ago #4

We are only crab meat when we get there, Just like the ones that we don't spare, Who dont wish to live cause we don't care, About the essence of life, but how we compare, With hypocrite scales that we all share, For anothers misery and despair Till the crab comes calling and we know we are there Too late to ponder, why we didnt care. It all makes sense. I believe it has made sense to everyone for centuries and yet it is not a priority because as a collective we are like crabs in a bucket. You know there is so much misery around me and people in general here have suffered so much amidst a strong tasting masal version of superficial that i am de sensitised to them both to a great extent. But few people, especially you make me stop and sense thing for a while. But sense it in a controllable way somehow, not lose it and lose the links to the so called superficial, the pampered stubborn child of society

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #3

thanks Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr as you can see I took the liberty to mention your book :-) I quite like what Elizabeth is saying smart lady :-)

don kerr

4 years ago #2

Pascal Derrien Too, too many of us die before we're dead and it is not until we come face to face with even the mere notion of mortality that we begin to live. To quote Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, "People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #1

Deb \ud83d\udc1d Helfrich thanks, I agree and lets make sure we dont get carried away with the little things :-)

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