Thanks for all your kind words and expressions of sympathy. I'm really doing alright, although I still have my moments! But, during those last three weeks, when Terry was in the hospital, I daily crawled up onto the bed with him and, when we got through crying, he would tell me over and over that we would be alright, and that I would be alright. I guess I have to be, no?! I know he is.
I have had to stand on my own two feet, of course, in many areas that were once his domain. Like paying bills, oy. (FOUR checkbooks? Are you serious, man? I can barely manage ONE!) Two cars and a truck? And a lawn tractor, a log splitter and a small trailer? Well, I suppose I can learn to drive the tractor....I'm not too bad at the cars and the truck! I gave the log splitter to one of the sons. I did feel particularly alone on the subject of the guns, I must admit. The man had the opinion that it was much easier to clean them himself than to teach me to do it. That's fair....I didn't think he could fill the dishwasher properly. But, joking aside, there were so many things the man did around here that I will never be able to do myself that I really do worry about the house going to hell in a handbasket.
One thing that I'm very glad Terry introduced me to was shooting, and not for the reason you might expect. Oh, yeah, being able to defend myself now that I'm alone, yada, yada, but the big surprise was the FAMILY I found at my local shooting club since Terry died. I resumed shooting with the bullseye target team as soon as I got over the shakies, and those guys have been amazingly supportive. The club in general has been incredible....from the president who now gives me a big hug every time he sees me, to the guys who have volunteered to field strip the Ruger Mark III for me (more importantly, put the danged thing back TOGETHER, something that strikes fear into many experienced shooters). They've all been something I never expected from a bunch of guys.
I've gotten more involved in the club, too, in the past two months. When a signup sheet went up in the Ready Room for an NRA Basic Instructor class in late January, I asked a few club officers if they thought I could do it (yes) and decided to sign up. Hey, it was something to do on two Saturdays in February, and weekends are the worst around here. I walked in to a class that consisted of fifteen guys, a male instructor (you're dead meat when you are the only woman in a class...they learn your name immediately!) and me. Holy crap. Getting up in front of that class was not easy, but I survived the first 8-hour session and went home to study, take the open book exams (there were two) and get ready for the second class. The next Saturday, we were all buddies, I was one of the gang, and cannot tell you what a boost that all was to my confidence! I even fired someone else's handgun (a Glock 17, 9mm) during the range portion (nailed the bullseye every time, whoohoo) and had a line of guys waiting to try my little Browning 1911-22 and the ten-shot .22 revolver that I brought from our safe. How did I do on the exams? 100% (okay, there was a little "cooperation" during breaks) on both. (The bag of chocolate chip cookies did not hurt.) I left that class with a bunch of emails from my new friends...good feeling.
So what? I took a class. Well, it opens some doors for the future. Once I get my actual certification from the NRA, I am then technically qualified to teach a beginner class. I don't have any plans to do that on my own, but I do want to give back to the club and plan to offer to assist with the monthly pistol permit classes. They are always looking for help, as many of the current teachers are older and have been at it for years. New blood, as it were. Also, as a certified instructor, I can then take more advanced classes, many available to order for home study. The first one will be the Range Safety Officer course, a requirement at our club for becoming a Range Officer*. In addition to successful completion of the NRA course, the club requires many hours of "apprenticeship" with a full Range Officer when the club is open....I got four+ hours under my belt this past Sunday. Once I have the hours, I get a key, free membership, and access to the range beyond the regular hours. And, again, get to give back to the club that has been so kind to me.
In contrast to the love and support I've found with a bunch of gun guys, there are some in the family (the "outlaws", as they are now known) who have not contacted me since the funeral. Yeah.....
*A Range Officer is the "boss" when the range is open. He (or she....I think I'll be the first female, when I get there) oversees safety on the firing line, the most important duty, gives safety checks to new people, and does have the authority to remove an unsafe shooter from the line. But, much is administrative, like taking applications for pistol permit classes, turning on and off all the lights, exhaust fans, tallying up the money taken in for classes, targets, dues, etc. Finally, there is a certain amount of janitorial work, although there is a cleaning service once a week. Cleaning up that range after four hours of shooting is a big job!