During the Second World War, US soldier KT Robbins was sent overseas. He was ready to fight, but fell head over heels in love instead.
Stationed in France the 24-year-old laid eyes on Jeannine Ganaye. It was love at first sight. Two months passed happily, but soon Robbins received his orders to ship out to the Eastern Front.
The two lovebirds were inconsolable. Robbins hoped for a reunion after the war. Circumstances dictated otherwise. Robbins had to return to America. He ended up meeting and marrying a woman named Lillian.
Jeannine also married and gave birth to five children. Life rolled on, but Robbins never forgot his French lover. For decades, he held onto a black-and-white photo of her taken in the village of Briey, where they met.
Fast forward half a century. 97-year-old Robbins found himself in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He showed a French journalist the photo and said he would like to visit the village again. He didn’t believe Jeannine would still be alive. Yet he wanted to take a wander down memory lane for old time’s sake.
The journalist managed to track down Jeannine in a retirement home not far from the village. He told a shell-shocked Robbins, “She’s alive. She’s waiting for you.”
Upon their reunion, the two widowers embraced. They gazed into each other’s eyes for the first time in 75 years. It was a look of undisguised joy.
Robbins said, “I always loved you. You never got out of my heart.”
The couple vowed to meet again. They may not have had much time left, but they were determined to make the most of it.
Bonnie Ware is an Australian nurse who knows all about regret. She spent years nursing people upon their death beds. She asked them if they regretted anything or would do things differently. She was struck at how similar their answers were.
Some wished they had found the courage to be true to themselves. Others wished they hadn’t worked so hard and had been able to express their feelings better. Some wished they had stayed in touch with their friends. Others regretted that the fear of change had denied them of true happiness.
Fate was kind to Robbins and Jeannine. It allowed them to meet again when the odds were stacked against it. They were able to set aside any regrets they might have had about not being together in life. Their story proves you’re never too old to start again.