Thredbo Survivor Stuart Diver: Positivity The 'Only Way'
Thredbo survivor Stuart Diver has revealed his conscious decision to stay positive in the face of overwhelming trauma, including the loss of two wives, and a mission to instil that stoicism to his daughter.
The 47-year-old was the only person to emerge alive from the rubble when two ski lodges were crushed by a landslide at the popular resort in July 1997.
His wife Sally was one of 18 people who died and Mr Diver endured an agonising 54-hours entombed in the debris before rescuers heard his cries for help.
It was a further 11 hours before he was freed. Almost 20 years on, Mr Diver has also endured the emotional heartache of losing his second wife, Rosanna Cossettini, to cancer and is raising their daughter Alessia as a single parent.
"Everyone feels anger at something, but it comes back to how you deal with it," he told the Nine Network's 60 Minutes on Sunday.
The couple received the diagnosis a week after returning from their honeymoon. He described a process of "pre-grieving" before he lost Rosanna as "brutally hard".
Before she died two-and-a-half years ago, Rosanna was intent on remaining a figure in Alessia's life and left her a chest of clothes, jewellery, future birthday cards and their favourite recipes.
Mr Diver said his previous fears about being a single parent quickly vanished.
"I'm definitely going to give her the tools to make sure that if anything big does happen in her life - and even if something small happens in her life - she's got the ability to deal with it," he said.
He recalled a conscious decision not to wallow in pity following his ordeal, but he also revealed the dark places his mind ventured as he waited in darkness to be rescued, knowing his wife had died.
"There were a couple of times there where I definitely thought about taking my own life, but I didn't have the means to do it," Mr Diver said.
"The human mind's an amazing thing and it just turned it around said 'you're not ready to go'."
On August 2, 1997, a cheer erupted on the mountain as spectators got their first glimpse of Mr Diver being pulled from the rubble.
It was his one "selfish" moment of elation, he recalled.
"That's stayed with me forever."
Forced to grieve his wife's death in a national spotlight, Mr Diver considers his determination not to cry in public was perhaps detrimental.
"People just thought I was hard in some ways and callous."
Now, as second-in-charge at Thredbo, his mindset is overwhelmingly positive and Mr Diver believe's it's futile to look at life any other way.
"You've got a choice," he said. "Sure, have your emotional lows and go to those dark places, but make sure at the end of the day when you go to bed that the last thing you're thinking is 'how bloody lucky am I, how great is the world, let's move along and see what we can achieve tomorrow'."