On crying

Although I am a pretty emotional guy, I don’t think of myself as much of a crier. I didn’t cry at either my wedding or my PhD thesis defense–two events where I thought I would cry. And much to Stephanie’s annoyance, I don’t get that emotional in sad movies. I do vaguely remember that as a young kid I would cry easily. But in the last 15 years or so, I think I only cried occasionally–when my cousin died, tough moments with my family, etc.

The Gavin situation changed all that for me. As his case progressed and got more and more grey, I became, for lack of a better term, kind of a cry baby.

It took a while to develop. For almost a year, I don’t think I cried even once. Instead I would get this pit in my stomach feeling that left me drained and weak.

It often happened randomly. At work I’d be talking about something like SQL Server versions, and all of a sudden it would hit me. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, and I’d walk back and forth from the snack room until it passed. Once it was so bad I went to the bathroom and just sat in a stall for a while.

Starting last spring–about 14 months after we got Gav–I found myself crying more. It was looking more and more likely that he would be returned to his mom. I often brooded about that possibility, and when I did, I started crying.

This especially happened as I drove. I had a pretty long, traffic-filled commute that lent itself to lots of negative thoughts. Almost every day in June 2017 I would cry for a few minutes on either the drive to or from work, and usually both.

As Gavin’s case dragged on through the summer and fall, I stopped crying as much. I simply became resigned to the fact that we would lose him. When I found out that we were wrong, that we were going to get to keep him forever, I wouldn’t blame you for assuming that I cried tears of joy. But I didn’t. I smiled.