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Something that this story gave me that changed my life was the idea that everything is connected. And anything that you like about your life in this moment wouldn't be possible without all of the good and bad that came before it. My father died when I was 19, and it broke me. But if he hadn't died, I wouldn't have my children. Because it's all connected. Fantastic movie.

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This is obviously an existential conundrum you're describing. It's also why I fixate on quite a bit in my life to try to find meaning in tragedies. The connections between us, both the ones we're aware of and the ones we're not, really do hold the universe together. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday break. Be safe and merry with those kids!

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

Lovely piece of writing, after age 45 it feels like we’re all constantly grieving the loss of someone or something but there are moments of light & laughter. You must have read (but if not please do), Suspects by David Thomson, delicious, witty noir with ‘connections’(trying to be spoiler free to anyone who hasn’t read it) to Bedford Falls. Reading your piece makes me want to re-read it.

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I haven't read SUSPECTS, but I'll look it up. And yes, life does now seem to be about constantly ceding life to death all around us. I have kids, which I was promised would interrupt that feeling in some way. It has not. Death is too brutal to be so easily cured. Happy holidays, Paul!

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Dec 23, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

Suspects https://amzn.eu/d/5fp5f8N

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This right here> “I found almost all of my friends, all the ones in my age group — women and men — were equally tired, confused, broken (or at least fractured). None of them were prepared for how hard “this” is. Being an adult.”

We are bruised and battered and hardly recognize ourselves.

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It's genuinely frustrating to look back at photos of me in my twenties and especially my early thirties, which still feels so close...but far away!

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I feel this deep in my bones. My achy bones. 😩

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Happy holidays. I hope your bones find some reprieve over the next ten days!

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Dec 22, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

It's a wonderful analysis! Yes, I find it a harrowing watch. Thanks for sharing your insights Cole.

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And thank you for reading, Reilly!

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Excellent analysis. I enjoyed reading.

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Thanks, JB!

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Gotta agree with you on every front here, thanks for sharing all that you did in this piece. I've only seen the film once, which was either last year or the year before, but it resonated with me even then, at age 19/20. This year I turned 21 and almost lost my father. Maybe next year I'll be able to watch the film again, a little less raw from the ups and downs of 2023. Which also reminds me: Do you have plans to move this newsletter? Some I follow on here have completely deleted their archives and left

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First, I'm sorry to hear you went through that with your father. I hope he's recovered and doing well now. May your 2024 be much, much better!

Second, no plans to move the newsletter at the moment. I might open a Patreon account as a back-up, but we'll see.

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Thank you Cole. He is recovered and doing well - just fed up with taking all the tablets! And about the newsletter: okay, I'll keep an eye out for that Patreon.

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I'm glad to hear he's doing well, Harvey. Enjoy your holidays with him!

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Cheers. Hope you enjoy your holiday with your family!

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Dec 21, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

This piece speaks to me on so many levels. Thank you so much for sharing it. I haven’t lost a parent but I feel like I understand a lot else of what you are speaking about here. I feel I have a lot to say but I can’t quite articulate it at the moment. Going to have a little cry and then see if I can come up with a better response.

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I think traumas come in many different forms, not just dead parents. And they're all deeply personal to each of us, which means no one should try to rank their "weight" compared to their own. Recognizing other people's trauma is a great act of empathy, I think. Anyway, the point is, I'm glad this piece spoke to you in any way. I look forward to continuing the conversation. In the meantime, happy holidays, Lou!

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Dec 22, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

I think sometimes in adult life we become so desensitised to difficulty that we don’t think about the effect that just getting through life has on us. I have always been good at compartmentalising so that I don’t let the negatives worry me or drag me down - I tend not to think about things until I have to - but you are right, adulting can be so hard, especially when you have children who are looking to you for answers, and even more so as they grow up and their problems are harder to solve. I like the person I have become more than the person I used to be but I also feel more disquiet and discontent than I think I used to.

It’s A Wonderful Life will always be special for me because the first time I watched it was on a random Sunday afternoon with my Dad when I was about 14. It wasn’t even Christmas and it wasn’t a film I knew anything about. It’s the first time I remember seeing my Dad cry. My Dad has been ill for a long time (although he is in incredibly good health at the moment) and we have had a rough couple of years so this post just brought a lot of stuff to the surface. I appreciate your candour. It’s been quite cathartic. Thank you.

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Thank you for sharing all of this, Lou. It's always wonderful to get a glimpse at other people's lives. I wrote something in another article recently that I think might resonate with you. "Sometimes, I think I watch so many Christmas films and TV with my children so that one day, when I’m gone, I’ll still be with them as they watch them with their own kids." And so the cycle continues...

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Dec 21, 2023Liked by Cole Haddon

We used to watch It's a Wonderful Life every year at Christmas. We no longer do. Two dozen or more times was enough. Perhaps, in a few more years, we might watch it again.

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It didn't do well when it was first released because it was released at the wrong time. Pessimism was not in fashion in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

Eventually, the right time did come along....

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Just last year, my 27 year old son said he's never understood why I watch it over and over... but last year, he said "It's a good film." Tone of amazement! I expect that is his beginning, and he'll begin to travel with it now.

This IS a wonderful piece of writing and thought--thank you!

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Thank you for reading, Alison, and thank you for the lovely note about your son. It's a terrible thing in some way, right? He's finally beginning to "get it", which also means something is changing in him and that isn't necessarily what you wholly want for him. But it's also part and parcel with "growing up", in experiencing this beautiful, painful thing we call life. Happy holidays!

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As a family, we've been through a lot--my boys lost their dad to ALS in 2016, and they helped me take care of him for the year before... so I am grateful to see signs of resilience AND the knowledge that this crazy life can cough up some real treasures now and then; sustaining stories are just such treasure, surely!

Happy holidays to you and your loved one, too!

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I'm so sorry to hear your husband has left us, Alison. Especially for your boys, who do sound like they're growing up to be wonderful adults. I know there's not much more to be said then that, so I'll leave it at that. May you all be safe and merry this holiday season!

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I appreciate. Just know your story resonates!

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