They say it takes a year to properly grieve a loss or life changing event. In that year, every holiday, anniversary, red letter date on your calendar happens once, allowing for living through each of these events in the form of the new person we become at least one time. We become a new person from divorce. We enjoyed marital status, now we are newly single. We were children ever able to turn to parents who now may have passed. Now we are singularly adults. We may have been trained officers, always ready, never fully tested in the field. Now, we count confirmed kills. We transform as a result of these and any other life changing events. To dismiss, demean or degrade the experiences only means our grief process leaks out unexpectedly in awkward and even unacceptable ways.
It has been a year, now, since I had to use my gun and I am unquestioningly a different person. More ME than ever, I discovered facets of myself as of yet unrevealed. Powerful, adept, sharp, top the list of how I see myself. Responds swiftly and appropriately in the face of danger gets added on. Not that I stand without fear, but I prove to myself that in frightening situations I know what to do, I am field tested. Sometimes this means walking away, do not proceed one step further. Sometimes, like this one time, my frightening event meant drawing and firing my weapon.
And sometimes, I feel guilty that I do not feel guilty. Defending one’s own with a firearm renders a quiet confidence. In addition, defending one’s own with a firearm does not lend itself to screaming from any mountain top, “I DID it!” as one might do after completing running a marathon. Both require extensive training, commitment, attention to detail. But, using a firearm renders an opinion of such extreme contrasts wherein keeping quiet becomes most appropriate, making for that quiet confidence. I know what I did. Every person who has confirmed hits knows what I’m talking about. If you have never had to use your gun, God bless you. Keep training. Never stop training. You do not know when your day will come. Hopefully, never.