Sunday, July 8, 2007

Oh God, please give him back, I shall keep asking...

If any of you recognize the above quote, yes it is from A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. One of my most favorite books.

I've debated whether I should blog about this subject as it was the most personal and painful of times for me. But, in the end, I want people to know that sometimes these awful events don't just happen to "other" people, they can happen to you. And, if they do happen to you, you can survive (albeit with LOTS of help from friends, family and even total strangers).

Five years ago, The Washington Post printed my letter to the editor regarding my friend Paul Cano. I was shocked and amazed that they did, seeing it had nothing to do with the events of the day nor was it a reply to a story they wrote. On this upcoming 15th anniversary I will reprint the letter here. It is in its original form as the editorial editors took out most of the personal things, which I guess was best. The anniversary is coming at the end of the week, but since I will be dealing with traveling to Puerto Rico, I decided to post this on another anniversary. The 8th of July, 1992 was the last day I ever saw Paul Cano.

**********************************

Fifteen years ago on July 15, I received a phone call that my closest friend Paul Cano had not shown up for work. Two weeks of media attention and desperate searching ensued, ending with the discovery of his body by children playing in a heavily wooded park near Bolling Air Force Base. He had been shot in the head.

What have his family and friends learned about his murder over the past 15 years? Absolutely nothing. I realized long ago that I would have to go through life never knowing who killed Paul, why he was killed, and what his last moments of life were like.

I can now look back at the weeks, months and years following his death and realize how much I was in shock. People were calling and offering their support—telling me how well I was holding up. They didn’t know that Paul’s death had not yet become real to me. At that time, the only reality I knew and thought about were those two weeks of searching for Paul. During that time, I saw a side of Washington that in my now 25 years of living here, I never thought I would experience.

The news media were always giving us advice on what to do and waiting to help in any way that they could without being intrusive. Paul’s co-workers at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and his friends who helped take charge of the situation by immediately setting up crisis counseling sessions and making their offices available at any time for meetings of search volunteers and for generating the thousands of flyers that were distributed across the city. The countless people dropping off food, and Paul’s Capitol Hill neighbors offering up their cars and homes whenever we might need them. The priests at Holy Comforter Catholic Church consoled Paul’s family and friends and prayed for his safe return. When we thought Paul was alive but injured somewhere in Arlington—the homeless people who promised to look out for him. The Boy Scouts who searched for Paul in the Arlington parks. The Metro police officer who took the time to talk to me at 1:30 in the morning at my neighborhood 7-11 and, just getting off duty, telling me he would drive around the local parks and look for Paul before going home for the night. The cab drivers on that same morning who stood in line waiting for me to hand out flyers about Paul so they could give them to passengers, then driving away waving and saying “God bless you and your friend.” That was my reality. It deeply angered and saddened me to know that, along with Paul, so many good people and good deeds in the Washington, DC area could be wiped out by a single person with a gun.

Fifteen years later I no longer have to remind myself that Paul is dead. To quote a line from a poem by Margaret Flanagan: “Now, his absence is my constant companion.” I have learned that Paul’s violent and senseless death is something I will never “get over.” But through hard work, love and support from friends, family and remembering the good people of the Washington, DC area, I have learned to live with this loss and have built a new life without Paul’s constant companionship, humor, and love.

***********************************



I miss the everyday companionship of Paul. He made the most mundane things fun. He gave me the nickname "possumlady"



Lighting sparklers on top of a friend's office roof to watch the fireworks one 4th of July in DC

39 comments:

Mary said...

Oh, Possumlady. You are making me melancholy. I'm so sorry. Your account reinforces my faith in the good of people, even in Washington, D.C.

Pauly Wally Doodle All Day is smiling down on you right now!

cat59 said...

Paul was the connection, although not intentionally, that led to my husband and I meeting. He was a friend to my husband and he was Possumlady's friend and she mine. Paul's involvement in politics led us all to be together at a fundraiser one night. He was the Best Man at our wedding. It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since his death. Thank you for reminding me of his great qualities. He was smart and funny, and a good person. I am really sad for the hole his death left in your life. Much love.

KGMom said...

Possumlady--I am glad you did write about this. We blog about happy & joyful things--why not also about sad things. Like is made up of joy & sorrow. To deny sorrow is to deny a part of our lives.
Pain is our constant companion--but we survive--we keep on keeping on.
May his memory always live brightly in you.

possumlady said...

Thanks all. I also wanted to write this as a "shout out" to Paul wherever he is that he is still loved and greatly missed.

And, yes, no one goes through this life without a great deal of sorrow and pain. I will always remember a news story a few years ago when they were interviewing people close to 100 years old and trying to figure out their longevity. Most of these people have buried their spouses and a number of them had also buried their children. The number one trait they found out is that everyone mentioned you need to figure out early on how to cope with a lot of loss in your life.

Anonymous said...

I never knew Paul, but I have a strange and enduring connection to him and his family. I bought his house on Capitol Hill. In doing so I had a relationship with his brother and family in California.

Long-time neighbors still remember Paul.

When I leave Washington, the history of the house that I will leave behind will include everything that I have discovered about Paul's brief time here.

topshelfguy said...

Hi Possumlady... Greetings from cold, snowy Chicago. I lived in DC from '88 to '99 and have many great memories of Paul. Paul and I dated casually in the late 80's and had spoken regularly up until his death. Hanging out with him in Old Town, hitting Dewey Beach etc... (I remember helping him pick out his Jeep Cherokee) Wow --- it's strange how reliving these memories still hurts so much. Paul was a great guy --- we are both very lucky to have known him.

Stay strong!!! and warm....

possumlady said...

Wow, two posts about Paul and just a few short days.

Anonymous, are you planning on moving soon? I remember his house well. About once a year he would have a group over and make homemade tostadas, including homemade refried beans from his mom's recipe. Since this included a large amount of LARD, he would shoo everyone from the kitchen and close the doors to the kitchen for safety sake.

Hey, Topshelfguy! I wonder if we ever met? Were you ever at any of his parties either on Capitol Hill or at his condo on T Street?

I find it fascinating that along with two comments on Paul out of the blue, I also get a wonderful and moving card from his family, all within a week! As another friend mentioned, I think Paul is trying to get us to remember his birthday on January 15th!

Andrew said...

I happen to come across your blog. I went to St Benedict's school with Paul from 1st to 8th grade in Montebello, CA. I can remember all the high school dances he, his best friend Kenny G, Danny G and myself went to together thinking we are all slick and forever strking out with the girls. All through grammar school Paul was totally head over heals in love with a girl named Katie . I can remember all of us chasing his pet bulldog in the his backyard. He was one of the fastest sprinters I knew. It used to shock people to see this skinny and pale redheaded kid blow the competition away! We lost contact after high school. I believe he went to Berkeley. I was saddened to hear of his passing only a few years ago. Such good memories.

Anonymous said...

Hi Possumlady. My name is Rose and I also went to grammar school with Paul at St. Benedict in Montebello, CA . I went to the all girls Catholic High School in Montebello and remember Paul at the dances. I was grammar school friends with his cousins. I remember the same things Andrew* remembers as we are still friends. I, too was shocked and sadden by his death. Take care possumlady.

Art said...

I went to Paul's funeral. He was my first friend to die young.Paul was a great guy. I went to school with him from 1st thru 8th grade. Many, many great memories of him. I don't know why I was thinking about him.

Anonymous said...

I knew paul when I was a child, my aunt was good friends with him and good friends with you too I think. I can still remember him even though I was only 10 when he passed~his sense of humor is memorable almost 20 years later. The most difficult thing about death is not understanding "why" it had to happen, esp to someone like him. I'm sure he is in a wonderful place and all of you close to him will be reunited again! May God bless

Nick said...

Possumlady,

Thinking of Paul this evening, and not sure why...

I decided to do some research on his death. Glad to find your post. Paul was a good friend of mine back in 1987 - 1990. I worked with him in Bethesda. Fun, smart and generous guy. Such a tragic loss of a bright young man. My condolences to you, his friends and his family. Is this still an unsolved mystery?

Nick

possumlady said...

Hi everyone,

Wow, so many comments from last year that I'm just reading now! Sorry about that. For some reason blogger is no longer alerting me when someone posts a comment!

Thanks so much for all your kind words about Paul. And, yes, his murder is still unsolved. Paul would have just celebrated his 49th birthday a few weeks ago.

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

Possumlady, thank you thank you thank you. Reading this helped... just a little. I know that keeping my memories of Christina-Taylor alive will help me hold her close to my heart for the rest of my days. I will strive to move toward a calmer place... and I'll reread this from time to time to help me along the road.

We, too, have been struck by the wonderful caring of strangers. Community takes on a whole different meaning when tragedy strikes. We really are "all in this together".

Fondly,
a/b

Matt Drake said...

I met Paul at UCSB our freshman year. We were friends immediately, and the summer of '81 we went to Kauai to visit his brother. Although we only saw each other briefly over the following years, we stayed close, and I still cherish a letter he wrote me for my 30th birthday in 1991. I was living in Idaho when I learned he was missing, and it was painful to feel so helpless. I still miss him, and was reminded of him last week when my brother posted pictures of the beach we hung out on in Kauai. I found some photos of Paul on that beach that brought back some powerful memories. Paul dreamed of being the first Mexican American gay governor of California, and I don't doubt that he could have achieved that goal if he had been allowed to. Nice to see these posts here. It has been to long since I thought about him or wrote about him. Your are missed old buddy.

Anonymous said...

I saw the name Cano somewhere today and it prompted me to check to see if Paul's killer had ever been found. I worked in HR at the American College of Cardiology in Bethesda when Paul was employed. I have never forgotten that he once signed up for a 10-layered flan for a staff potluck.

Courtney Pell said...


I'm looking for a solution to get my boyfriend back he is been acting differently since a month ago i don't know what's got into him and since i reach Dr. Odion spell for help through his email: odionspelltemple@gmail.com he is back and we both living happily like before also call him or WhatsApp him via +2348056932230

Ghost Hacker said...

In case you need a hackers for hire? Do you need to keep an eye on your spouse by gaining access to their emails? As a parent do you want to know what your kids do on a daily basis on social networks ( This includes facebook, twitter , instagram, whatsapp, WeChat and others to make sure they're not getting into trouble? Whatever it is, Ranging from Bank Jobs, Flipping cash, Criminal records, DMV, Taxes, Name it,i can get the job done.Am a professional hacker with 10 Years+ experience. Contact me at ghosthacker768@gmail.com ... Send an email and Its done. Its that easy, Daura referred you

Junia Noel said...

My life became devastated when my husband sent me packing, after 8 years that we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to make my husband take me back. One day at work, i was absent minded not knowing that my boss was calling me, so he sat and asked me what its was all about i told him and he smiled and said that it was not a problem. I never understand what he meant by it wasn't a problem getting my husband back, he said he used a spell to get his wife back when she left him for another man and now they are together till date and at first i was shocked hearing such thing from my boss. He gave me an email address of the great spell caster who helped him get his wife back, i never believed this would work but i had no choice that to get in contact with the spell caster which i did, and he requested for my information and that of my husband to enable him cast the spell and i sent him the details, but after two days, my mom called me that my husband came pleading that he wants me back, i never believed it because it was just like a dream and i had to rush down to my mothers place and to my greatest surprise, my husband was kneeling before me pleading for forgiveness that he wants me and the kid back home, then i gave Happy a call regarding sudden change of my husband and he made it clear to me that my husband will love me till the end of the world, that he will never leave my sight. Now me and my husband is back together again and has started doing pleasant things he hasn't done before, he makes me happy and do what he is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind, kindly contact Happy for help and you can reach him via email: happylovespell2@gmail.com

Rosemary H said...

I work too hard to live with a cheating husband. As soon i saw the signs, i was able to get a PI who recommended me to hack demon who helped me hack my husband internet habits. he hacked my ex-husband email, phone calls, text msg , icloud and dating websites and found the truth about him. I am happy he is now gone from my life. thanks to (distincthacker@gmail.com) for helping me. Try him, he can help you too

Imelda Daher said...

Hey guys, my name is Imelda Daher from Philippines but reside in America i am very happy that i was able to be online last week when Janet posted on YouTube that she has finally gotten what she wanted for her marriage life after all the stress she went through trying to hack into our husbands phone herself.. So after that I decided to try and see if it’s gonna work or still the same thing I see online everyday so I contacted Michael as i was referred to by Janet to his email which I did and got his direct telephone number as well too and believe me he did a good job for me that I was shocked when I got the information I needed that my dear husband for 10 year of marriage has a baby mama in Sweden. thanks to Michael Lawson for this great job even if it’s gonna break my home its better than been fooled for the rest of my life. lawsonmichael33@yahoo.com by Janet and he did a good and fast job for me in less than 48hrs...he made available phone hack, chat histories, present chats and future chats...You can also contact him for all sorts of mobile hacking jobs like he told me. Good luck to everyone who really wanna work with him and put a stop to the entire nightmare.

Junia Noel said...

My life became devastated when my husband sent me packing, after 8 years that we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to make my husband take me back. One day at work, i was absent minded not knowing that my boss was calling me, so he sat and asked me what its was all about i told him and he smiled and said that it was not a problem. I never understand what he meant by it wasn't a problem getting my husband back, he said he used a spell to get his wife back when she left him for another man and now they are together till date and at first i was shocked hearing such thing from my boss. He gave me an email address of the great spell caster who helped him get his wife back, i never believed this would work but i had no choice that to get in contact with the spell caster which i did, and he requested for my information and that of my husband to enable him cast the spell and i sent him the details, but after two days, my mom called me that my husband came pleading that he wants me back, i never believed it because it was just like a dream and i had to rush down to my mothers place and to my greatest surprise, my husband was kneeling before me pleading for forgiveness that he wants me and the kid back home, then i gave Happy a call regarding sudden change of my husband and he made it clear to me that my husband will love me till the end of the world, that he will never leave my sight. Now me and my husband is back together again and has started doing pleasant things he hasn't done before, he makes me happy and do what he is suppose to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind, kindly contact Happy for help and you can reach him via email: happylovespell2@gmail.com

Dragon Don said...


dragondon87@gmail.com
U Need Any Help ?
University grades changing
Bank accounts hack
Twitters hack
email accounts hack
Grade Changes hack
Website crashed hack
server crashed hack
Retrieval of lost file/documents
Erase criminal records hack
Databases hack
Sales of Dumps cards of all kinds
Untraceable Ip
Individual computers hack
Websites hack
Facebook hack
Control devices remotely hack
Burner Numbers hack
Verified Paypal Accounts hack
Any social media account hack
Android & iPhone Hack
Word Press Blogs hack
Text message interception hack
email interception hack
- See more at:
dragondon87@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

If you need to hack into any database, delete record, improve credit score, spy on whatsapp, text, phone, emails, as long as it's hack contact darkghostz101@gmail.com via Email :: darkghostz101@gmail.com he is great, you won't be disappointed, cheap and fast, he saved my relationships

Walter James said...

I Basically think we all don't have to face all these deceit and lies from our spouse...in a case of mine wen i got sick and tired of all the lies and deceit i had to contact a friend of mine to get me the contact of one of the best hackers in the states ..then i met cyberphonehacker@gmail.com..He saved me from the lies of my cheating wife by hacking her phone..Incase you need help with hacking any phone or account or other jobs contact him via email/phone (CYBERPHONEHACKER@GMAIL.COM) or
+1 916 302 2234 Tell him i reffered you.He will help you

Anonymous said...


Do you need to hire a licenced hacker who can even stand in court, he offers the best services ranging from background checks, surveillance( includes access to social networks, school servers, icloud and much more), infidelity to tracing people, totally worth your money, please no time wasters, he won't under any circumstances work for free, you can reach him by email or text on geminiblackhathacker@gmail.com and +1 (813) 379-2141 Good luck.

Nicole Kniffen said...

I Basically think we all don't have to face all these deceit and lies from our spouse...in a case of mine wen i got sick
and tired of all the lies and deceit i had to contact a friend of mine to get me the contact of one of the best hackers
in the states ..then i met secretrevealer04@gmail.com..He saved me from the lies of my cheating husband by hacking his
phone..Incase you need help with hacking any phone or account or other jobs contact him via email
(SECRETREVEALER04@GMAIL.COM)Tell him i reffered you.He will help you

Sach said...

For the very first time in my life, I was able to meet a real hacking team. They completed a secret hack for my company in 48 hours and we were able to protect a lot of information and their charges are reasonable.
You just need to try them out and you won't go anywhere else as far as hacking is concerned.

Mobile Phone Hack, Whatsapp Hack, Instagram Hack, Snapchat, Spyware, RAT, Gmail Hack, Yahoomail Hack, Hotmail Hack, Company Email Hack, Website Database Hack, Educational Portal, Credit Records, Job protection, Record Cleaning, iPhone 5, iPhone5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 Hack, Samsung Hack, Linux Hacking, Mac Hacking, ios Hacking, WIndows Hacking, All kind of phone hacks, and any kind of hack. You can also find stolen gadgets, or retrieve hacked phones, you can also run a check on your mobile to confirm if you are been spyed on.

24/7 Support

Visit www.8spyder.com or send an email to hack@8pyder.com.

christopher klien said...

Thanks Ben for recommending HYPERHACKTIVE1@GMAIL.COM to me. His work rate is exceptional and above all very polite. Thank you for the email hack. I know he operates on upgrades of credit
score,hack or crash a website,database and other petty hacking services. just in case you want to get a job done.. i am recommending him to you just as Ben did to me. GOODLUCK.

kimberly villagomez said...

Hello everyone! If you need to boost your credit score excellently within a short period, hack a cell phone or raise your grades (at any level or institution), contact finessehackers@gmail.com

He's reliable and efficient, and my life has changed drastically since his assistance with my poor credit.
I can't thank him enough, say Kimberly referred you he'll help.

Kate Johnson said...

Hello everyone, my name is Kate Johnson.I was able to hack my husband's phone remotely and gained access to all his texts and chats with the help of ghosthacker2351@gmail.com, he is reliable and trustworthy. I have tried him and he did a great job.if you require his services tell him I referred you.

Liz Berman said...

Hack into any data base,pay pal account , blogs, credit cards (clear your debts and drop money into your credit cards) , smartphone hacks ,SERVER CRASHED hacks ,professional hacking into institutional servers-keylogging -University grades changing / Admin(staff) account hack -Access/Password (facebook, instagram, bbm,Skype, snapchat, twitter, badoo, Word Press,zoosk, various blogs, icloud, apple accounts etc.)-clearing of criminal records-email accounts hack ( gmail,yahoomail,hotmail )-breach of web host servers ,Databases hack- Untraceable IP If you refer client to him as a result of the previous job done for you, you will stand a chance of getting any job of your choice hacked for you, free of charge.contact thewhitehathacker2012@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

My husband was so smooth at hiding his infidelity so I had no proof for months, I was referred to some hacker and decided to give him a try.. the result was incredible because all my cheating husband's text messages, whatsapp, facebook, snap and even phone conversations was wired directly to my cellphone. It also included Audio’s and I’m still amazed how he did this without physical contact with my husbands phone. internetexplorer helped me put a round-the-clock monitoring on him and I got concrete evidence of his escapades..if your spouse is an expert at hiding his cheating adventures
Contact: internetexplorer173@gmail.com

tracy soul said...

Cyberhackinglord is the real hacker out there, please be careful of imposters. they are somany hackers who claim to be what they are not. i have been ripped off twice by this so called hackers. please be careful. if you need an hacker mail (cyberhackinglord@gmail.com), they work effectively, i can testify to that. mail them today and you will get your work done or text +13047160075.

paula grift said...

We are the real deal in all degree of hacking. Superb Hackers have proofs with confirmation from our numerous clients around the world. Our job is done without any trace and payment is made after the job is completed. We render the following services at an affordable price.
+University grades changing
+Facebook hack
+email interception hack
+email accounts hack
+Grade Changes hack
+Website crashed hack
+Word Press Blogs hack
+Retrieval of lost file/documents
+Erase criminal records hack
+Databases hack
+Sales of Dumps cards of all kinds
+Untraceable Ip
+Bank accounts hack
+Individual computers hack
+Websites hack
+Control devices remotely hack
+Burner Numbers hack
+Verified Paypal Accounts hack
+Any social media account hack
+Android & iPhone Hack
+server crashed hack
+Text message interception hack
+Twitters hack
+Skype hack
+Credit cards hacker
+We can drop money into bank accounts.
We can also teach you how to do the following with our e-book and online tutorials
* Hack and use Credit Card to shop online
* Monitor any phone and email address
* Tap into anybody's call and monitor their conversation
contact him :\hacked.viet123@gmail.com phone no +1502) 487-4830

Suzan White said...

Excellent and professional investigative services. I hired him (CYBERHACKPROS@GMAIL.COM) for a very private and difficult matter of hacking my spouse phone, and he far exceeded my expectations. He helped me get the info(whatsapp, facebook, text messages, call logs etc) I needed faster and cheaper than I had imagined. The first time we spoke, we had a very long phone consultation in which he gave me all my options that he could think of to resolve my case, and he even recommended I try other options before hiring him, which shows that he is honest. I decided to hire him and I am glad I did. He is a fantastic investigator and a great person and if you have a dishonest partner don’t hesitate to send him a mail Contact:CYBERHACKPROS@GMAIL.COM or +1 916 378 4978

D Dacdac said...

Do you need hackers for hire? Do you need to keep an eye on your spouse by gaining access to their emails? As a parent do you want to know what your kids do on a daily basis on social networks ( This includes facebook, twitter , instagram, whatsapp, WeChat and others to make sure they're not getting into trouble? Whatever it is, Ranging from Bank Jobs, Flipping cash, Criminal records, DMV, Taxes, Name it,he will get the job done.He's a professional hacker with 20 Years+ experience. Contact him at dragonhhacker@gmail.com ... Send an email and Its done. Its that easy, Daura referred you

Stacey Jones said...

Hello everyone! If you require the service of a professional hacker to help track your partner's cell phone remotely, contact deadlyhacker01@gmail.com, after being ripped off by various hackers, he helped me track my husband's phone without physical contact.
Tell him Stacey referred you, he'd help

Unknown said...

I Basically think we all don't have to face all these deceit and lies from our spouse...in a case of mine wen i got sick and tired of all the lies and deceit i had to contact a friend of mine to get me the contact of one of the best hackers in the states ..then i met cyberhackpros@gmail.com..He saved me from the lies of my cheating husband by hacking his phone..Incase you need help with hacking any phone or account or other jobs contact him via email/phone CYBERHACKPROS@GMAIL.COM or +1 916 378 4978 Tell him i reffered you.He will help you