Dear Carlo Benitez


Listening to this song couldn’t have been more timely than last night, at midnight, when Bill called my attention and shared with me very sad news.

Bill was a sophomore in high school when he had to wear a heavier set of shoes and carry more weight on his shoulders. Grief arrived earlier than in most lifetimes.

On the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton, Fr. James Martin, SJ wrote this on “Is it a stretch to say that the Trappist monk and spiritual master Thomas Merton changed the world? Perhaps. But he surely changed people’s lives, and if that’s not enough to change the world, I’m not sure what is.”

PS. The timeliness of HBF sharing this song with me a few weeks back.

Dear Carlo Benitez,

I can’t specifically remember if Bill introduced us formally, you as a friend/classmate and me as his older sister. But for the many years I’ve been acting as his yaya, I’ve grown familiar with the few faces I see in and out of Santa Maria. And I would like to voice out this thought that popped up when he told me the news last night: you are one of kindest souls I was blessed enough to have been made aware of. By that, you have in one way or another touched our souls, changed our lives.

I’ll always remember that one evening when Bill told us about how two young souls connected (somehow)- two young souls, on the verge of adolescent discovery, but confronted by a road that slowly turned rocky with helplessness and grief. Your presence on that particular time of his life (our lives) and the simple words you uttered, shared the comfort many of us rarely find on this road of black and white.

I don’t really know you. You don’t really know me.
I really can’t help but be saddened by your passing.
The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you.

I may not be privy to your walk through the tunnel of illness, but I can’t help but think that these words may ring true to your homecoming.

Have a good journey home Carlo.

May the Father keep you and your family warm in his loving embrace.

Love and Gratitude.


Carlo is the son of the late Lt. Col. Angel Benitez who died in an ambush staged by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte. He was on his way to report as the new intelligence officer of the military’s anti-terrorist Joint Task Force Tabak. (2008) They both share the same birthday.


If I’m not mistaken, I think Carlo once joined a math quiz bee/ symposium in Singapore. That was during their summer break. On the following school year (June 2009?), he gave Bill a keychain from Singapore. We still have it at home. smile emoticon
Found this online: Carlo received a merit award at the International Mathematics Competition in Singapore!

Ásgeir- In HarmonyDDT


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