It’s never too late…
This story is about a woman who got married to the love of her life of 43 years after going through a lot of hurdles and difficulties in her relationship.
According to the PEOPLE reports, Jeanne Gustavason met Stephen Watts for the first time in the year 1971, “when she was a freshman, and he was a senior at Chicago’s Loyola University.”
“He was very striking,” Gustavson said about Watts. “Extremely handsome, dressed impeccably, always a gentleman — everything you’d want in a boyfriend.”
Jeanne and Stephen both were the German major and president of a German Club at their University.
But Stephen belonged to the Black community, and because of this reason Jeanne’s mother was against to their relationship.
“She just went ballistic,” she said to the PEOPLE. “She didn’t want this relationship to happen at all.”
When her mother got to know about their relationship, she approached their Dean and requested them to keep them separated, however, it couldn’t end their relationship and the duo somehow managed dating each other for almost seven years.
After completing her graduation from nursing school, Jeanne got a job far from her place where she had to work long hours. Because of her busy schedule and late shifts it became difficult for her to meet Watts.
“I was completely overwhelmed by everything,” she said. “The family issue was always weighing on me because it fractured the relationship between my mother and myself forever. She was always my mother, and I always loved her, but it affected our relationship for the rest of my life.”
“I would’ve lost my entire family,” she also said. “I knew that if I did marry him, I probably wouldn’t see my family again.”
One day, during her shift at her workplace she called Stephen and said that she could not see him from now.
“I love you, but I just can’t do this,” she told Watts.
“He was crushed and didn’t say a word,” she said. “We’d go the next several decades without speaking. I regretted it then, I regretted the way I did it, but I did it.”
Back in 2021, she retired from job and her mother was also passed away.
So, Jeanne thought a lot and decided to find her love, Watts after a long years gap.
“Everything came up a dead end when I tried to search for him. There was virtually no trace of him.”
However, Gustavson didn’t give up this time as she had already made up her mind. She never stopped searching Stephen everywhere, and after seven months of struggle she finally knew about his niece address and instantly wrote a letter to her.
“She told me he was in a nursing home, and that’s something I never had in a million years imagined,” she shared to the outlet.
Jeanne also tried to find him at the nursing home and in May 2021, she called and requested them to help her so that she can talk to Watts, but all her efforts had been wasted and he couldn’t find him here also. Then she sent him a letter by thinking that he would reply, however he didn’t.
“Being a nurse, immediately, I started thinking of different things that might be wrong with him, where he couldn’t write to me,” she said. “I made a decision to go to Chicago to see Steve. I had to have resolution.”
“I needed to know: Was he okay? Was he married? Would he forgive me?” she further said.
In June 2021, she decided to go his nursing home, where he surprised him. After seeing Jeanne, Stephen started crying.
“It was wonderful, and it was sad at the same time, because he didn’t look at all like when I knew him 50 years ago.”
On their reunion, she found out that he had suffered strokes two times and because of some infection his left leg amputated.
“It just broke my heart,” she said. “I knew he still loved me. I just knew,” she says. “We spent the next hour and a half together, and he clung onto my arm with a death grip. We talked, we cried and we found out that neither one of us was married at this point and we still loved each other.”
A couple of months after their reunion at the nursing home, the former nurse tied the knot with Stephen nearly after 43 years.
“When he proposed, I said, ‘A thousand times yes!’” 69-year-old Jeanne said to the PEOPLE. “We’re trying to make up for 42 lost years.”
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