The loss of Jack in the blinking of an eye shook the roots of all of Sal’s beliefs of immortality that are the province of the young. He had felt that we are on a road that has no turns toward death and illness until we pass the demarcation of middle age. Unspoken, but so real and a myth that is almost visceral, and when that credo is shattered the pain and confusion position one on the precipice of depression. It was a great deal to comprehend that Jack, a person so alive with all of the energy and dynamism of youth had ceased to be.The pain was searing, and floated to the surface without notice through a familiar song, a favorite place or merely the mention of his name. There were no insulated places where the residue of the pain did not seep to wound again.
When Sal returned to Rome, he was immersed into thoughts that were overwhelmingly sad and morose. How could such a vital life be obliterated in a blinding crash? Depressed and feeling so alone he had the opportunity to reread “Man’s Search for Meaning”, the account of the Holocaust through the eyes of Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Jewish Psychiatrist. The words on each page seemed to be directed to his feelings, and somehow he knew that this book would be the beginning of his healing. He had no idea that Dr. Frankl would radically change his life, and that in a new short weeks he would actually meet him in Vienna. He knew that Dr. Frankl was teaching at the University of Vienna, and decided that he would like the opportunity to study with him.
He called the University and requested that he be connected with Dr. Frankl’s office, and to his amazement Dr. Frankl answered the phone. After a few moments of conversation he invited Sal to visit him at the University. Being a student in Rome, it was not difficult to fly to Vienna on the following Tuesday. The plane ride was smooth,but Sal’s stomach was in knots at the thought of being in the presence of someone whose work and life he had so admired. He practiced over and over what he would say but by the time he arrived at the University he was a nervous wreck.
Waiting in a room near Dr.Frankl’s office he was told that Dr.Frankl would soon be with him. Finally the moment arrived when he was ushered to Dr. Frank’ls private office.He was taken immediately with the wonderful ability of the good doctor to listen without interruption and when Sal finished Dr. Frankl said’you are the perfect student for me, and it will be a pleasures to have you in my classes.”