Here we are, watching the universe change into the next season of life. Our summer was eventful. We began taking classes to become foster parents which included 10 courses at 3 hours each including homework, site visits, and a lot of personal reflection. The courses brought us both into an emotional journey as we learned the ins and outs of the foster care world. Many of our classmates were themselves former foster children and now completing the circle in hopes to help others. We studied several sample cases in order to try and glean even the smallest window into what our children in the foster system experience. Many nights my husband and I would drive home in silence trying to process all of the information and understanding the harsh reality that domestic violence, abuse, and neglect is rampant here in our country. Root causes are many, and without opening some resiliency factors into a childs’ life offering them hope, affirmation, guidance, love, and selflessness the cycle will in fact continue, and even when the child is offered such love they may be far too scarred to know how to climb up. The foster care system is more complex than we can wrap our heads around at this point, and since we needed to miss three classes we are still not licensed. My husband needed surgery which took us out of classes, and then we had a family trip which took us away from another. The lesson here? Life happens. So, as much as we hoped to have a little one to love and care for sometime this fall or early winter it looks like we may wait until the next changing season.
We are happily settled into our home now for almost a year and loving the community. We both continue to be active with our work as Red Cross spokespersons, and board members of Bike Walk CT. The summer held a busy race schedule, where we proudly secured a few podium spots (some because there were few competitors but we didn’t care), experienced a warm reunion with my medical staff, family, friends, and heroes at the Red Cross Gala, shared my story with several organizations, and have been vested in getting my memoir published with Hachette Publishing in 2017.
This summer I also learned that my hashtag #productofheroes contained myself. As my husband required a planned surgery, it forced him to need to sleep for a few weeks and for us to take on a strong role reversal as I became the sole caregiver. My panic was immense when I brought him to Yale for surgery, I feared his pain, I feared how I would act or over act in regards to his pain, and I feared how I could handle not having him as my physical rock as he would require me to be strong. Love is a profound and beautifully amazing thing. God gave me the grace to be present for him spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I was also given the grace to continue to train my body. For the first time in five years I trained for over 2 weeks solo, I swam, biked, ran, weight trained, did everything around the house, took care of what needed to be cared for, and the things that were just back ground noise became tuned out. I learned so strongly and so powerfully how to also be a caregiver, and gained an even deeper respect for my best friend who cared for me for years as I went in and out of surgeries. He has taught me over and over that a real man can be weak and strong at the same time and that selflessness is key in love and commitment. I feel like we could almost write another book just on this topic
Sean is healing well, and will be competing with me next weekend in a relay for IronMan Atlantic City. We will make up all missed classes for foster care, and continue to give gratitude for the hero within each of us. There is actually a little “eye” in Hero. Draw it out. 🙂 This fall I will be speaking to the American Case Management Association in two different states, as well for PeaceJam International, and a few other engagements. On October 8th, which is my five year anniversary of being run over I have the joy of being on the Inspiration team with the Hartford Marathon and running for Team Red Cross. I will carry the Red Cross flag each and every mile.
With this I close, and mention the division that has been cut into our American Hearts from the upcoming presidential election. I urge you to remember, #weallbleedred. Regardless of the presidential outcome, the human family will always rise up. Keep your hearts, minds, eyes, and souls open.(This is my staff from Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, CT)
We never know what each season will bring my friends. When we plan how we might rake up the leaves, a powerful wind might just blow them all over the place. The human spirit is resilient, beautiful, powerful, and we are one.
Utmost love and gratitude,
Colleen Kelly Alexander
This is a photo of my mother, father, brother, sister in law, and dearest husband at the Red Cross Gala.
Special thanks to The Dressing Room in Wallingford for this beautiful dress.