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Stuart Diver reveals how after losing two wives, his daughter is keeping him together

“Pre-grieving for your wife not knowing when she’s going to die is brutally, brutally hard – especially when you’re involving a four-and-a-half year old.”
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Twenty years ago, the catastrophic Thredbo landslide captivated the nation – especially when rescuers discovered the sole survivor a staggering three days later.

The night his lodge was swept away in a tragedy that killed 18 others, ski instructor Stuart Diver awoke to find both he and wife Sally trapped and last night, he told 60 Minutes what it was like to watch his wife die.

“When the water came down she started screaming and I tried to stop the water going into her mouth. And I couldn’t do it,” he said.

Sally and Stuart Diver

“[Surviving] just got so brutally hard. But the human mind is an amazing thing.”

Despite becoming a symbol of hope and determination to many Australians, Stuart’s heartbreak didn’t end there.

Stuart being rescued from Thredbo.

Five years after the tragedy, he married Thredbo local Rosanna Cossettini.

After the unbelievable tragedy of losing his first wife to a natural disaster, Stuart said Rosanna pulled him through his grief and proved he could love again.

But just a week after returning from their honeymoon, his wife discovered she had breast cancer.

After years of treatment, which left doctors sceptical the pair could conceive, Rosanna’s condition improved so they started to think about having children.

At age 44, Rosanna gave birth to their daughter Alessia.

However, just four and a half years later, it became clear Rosanna wasn’t going to be there to watch her daughter grow up.

“Pre-grieving for your wife not knowing when she’s going to die is brutally, brutally hard – especially when you’re involving a four-and-a-half year old,” he explained.

But Stuart says Rosanna worked hard to leave a lasting impression on her daughter and Alessia has no doubts about how much she was loved by her mum.

Stuart and Rosanna.

“It’s as simple now as all I need to do is cuddle her,” he says. “That’s it.”

“Because that just brings back the beautiful memories of being snuggled into her mum and being loved.

“It’s as simple as that.”

After so many shattering blows, Stuart would be forgiven for wallowing in the grief that left him sobbing in the shower, but once again, he chose to survive.

“I mean you can sit here and be miserable and you know say ‘poor me, look what I’ve been through’. But at some point you have to make a decision ‘I’m going to live life’,” he says.

And Alessia is a big part of that choice.

“She is key to where I am right now,” Stuart confessed.

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