Jeanne admitted she wrestled with the dilemma of choosing between her relationship with her mother and her own happiness. She believed that proceeding with their relationship and marrying her partner would have resulted in losing her entire family.

“I would’ve lost my entire family,” she lamented. “I knew that if I did marry him, I probably wouldn’t see my family again.”

The most regrettable part for Jeanne was ending their relationship over the phone, conveying her love for him but ultimately stating, “I just can’t do this.”

“I regretted it then, I regretted the way I did it, but I did it,” she confessed about her decision.

After becoming a divorced retiree and with her mother no longer alive, Jeanne resolved to search for him in 2020. In April 2021, she located a mailing address for his niece and penned a letter to him. To her astonishment, she discovered that Stephen was residing in a nursing home.

Despite her attempts to reach out via letter, she received no response. Consequently, she decided to travel to Chicago. In June 2021, they finally reunited – Stephen instantly recognized her, whispered her name, and tears welled in his eyes.

Jeanne was devastated to learn that he had suffered two strokes and had his left leg amputated due to infections. However, they soon began catching up on each other’s lives. “I knew he still loved me,” Jeanne affirmed.

Subsequently, Jeanne invited Stephen to live with her in Oregon and proposed the idea of starting anew.

“When he proposed, I said, ‘A thousand times yes!’” Jeanne revealed to PEOPLE during one of their Valentine’s Day specials for 2023. “We’re trying to make up for 42 lost years.”

Notably, Jeanne embraced the opportunity to take on Stephen’s last name. “I’ve wanted it for a long time,” she expressed.

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