Norman Ollestad wrote a sort of open letter in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, directed to Ruben van Assouw, the 9-year-old sole survivor of last week’s airliner crash in Libya.
Ollestad, himself the sole survivor of a Cessna crash at age 11 that killed his father-mentor, his father’s girlfriend and the pilot, wishes for the boy to find solace in his aunt and uncle, as well as an emotional outlet.
After his experience, Ollestad said he wanted to go home, play with his friends. He wanted to make his life as normal as possible.
The letter writer, who last year published a highly acclaimed memoir (pictured above) of the 1979 crash and how it affected his life, said he could have benefitted from psychotherapy, a field that was somewhat socially frowned upon a generation ago.
“Ruben is special,” Ollestad writes. “Not even 10, he has endured two of the most monumental experiences a person can ever go through: The loss of a parent and a close look at death, his own mortality. I hope he is given the time and guidance to navigate this road to healing. In the bat of an eye he's been forced to grow up, a young boy facing the journey of a far older man.”