Friday, May 6, 2011


In the fall semester of my sophomore year of university I developed a huge crush on a guy named Luis (but everyone called him Lou).  We shared one class - French Speaking World. I noticed him the first day and thought he was kind of cute.  Over the course of the semester we slowly got to chatting and he helped me out now and then with classwork.  The more I got to know him, the more I realised what a wonderful guy he was.  He was sweet, gentle and kind - always willing to help people out with anything they might need.  He was a senior education major and would be starting student teaching in the spring.  He was an active member of his church and regularly volunteered at a soup kitchen.  He loved ice hockey and Led Zeppelin.  

On the last day of the semester he stopped by my dorm to see me.  I was suffering with a nasty cold and was quite pathetic but he sat and we chatted for a bit.  We exchanged Christmas cards and promised we'd send each other a postcard over the holiday.  Before he left he gave me a huge hug and my heart melted.  This was one heck of a crush.  Maybe after Christmas break I'd have the courage to let him know how I felt.

On January 5th, 1995 I received a postcard from him and was like a giddy school girl.  When I got back to my dorm later that month the first thing I did was call him.  A guy answered the phone.
"Hi, can I speak to Lou?"
Long pause and then a reply.  "Who is this?"
"This is Jen, his friend from school.  I just got back from break."
"Didn't anyone tell you?"
"Tell me what?"
"Lou was killed in  car crash on January 5th."

Lou was driving with his parents when their car was struck by a 16 year old who lost control of his car.  Lou was killed instantly.  His dad was in hospital for a long time and his mom suffered minor injuries.  The guy on the phone was Lou's brother.

I was destroyed and struggled with the loss for a long time.  For years after, whenever there was a wish to be made (birthday candles, shooting stars), I wished that Lou was still around and in my life.  

Fast forward to 2007.  I was finally coming out of a wretched 2 years.  I was a mess after my marriage ended and found myself in a number of very unhealthy relationships (with guys and with alcohol).  In January 2007 I broke up with the latest guy and quit drinking. I spent the next few months focusing on me.  I finally overcame the desperate fear that no one else would ever love me.  I reconnected with girlfriends but also spent a lot of time with my dogs just rediscovering the world around me and my own company.  I even started to enjoy the freedom of being single.  

In May 2007 we were having renovations done on our building at work.  Most of the crew were Portuguese guys from the Azores (there's a big Azorean Portuguese community here in Bermuda).  One carpenter in particular caught my eye.  He was tall and a bit skinny but he had the biggest, cheekiest grin I'd ever seen.  After a few weeks of winks and shy smiles we finally had our first conversation - sort of.  He barely spoke English and my Portuguese was limited to a few words.  At the end of our "chat" I asked his named.  "Luis," he said before writing his number on my hand and walking away.  

I didn't know if I should call him.  I mean, what did I think we would talk about?  However, armed with my Portuguese/English dictionary we began to meet up and ever so slowly get to know each other.  He, like my other Luis, turned out to be a kind and gentle soul.  He is one of the most selfless people I've ever met and would do anything for those he cares about.  His family is hugely important to him and his mother and 3 sisters trained him well - he can cook and clean with the best of them and, thankfully, is as tidy as I am!  He is also an animal lover and, unlike with my previous boyfriends, my dogs adored him from day one.   

Everyone (including me) thought I was nuts and that clearly I was still going through post-divorce lunacy.  But the weeks and months rolled on and we spent more and more time together.  When he invited me to the Azores to meet his family I knew he was serious about me and in November 2009 we got engaged.

Today is our 1 year wedding anniversary.  Luis is still as sweet and loving as when we first got together.  We still make each other laugh every day and speak our own little language of "Portuglish".  I am so very blessed to have found him.  I feel like maybe Lou had a hand in helping me make it through those rough times and in leading me to Luis once he knew I'd be ready to accept him.  For that, I'll be forever grateful.




Jay Gee said...

Wow Jen... that is a sad but also incredibly sweet story. So glad you finally meet Luis and the very best wishes on your 1 year wedding anniversary. Hugs Judith

Lynn said...

Jen, thank you for sharing your wonderful love store with us. I am sure that Lou had a hand in your mtg your handsome Luis! Happy anniversary to the two of you and many, many more fabulous years to come!

kasia c. said...

Oh Jen! I am a little teary, thank you for sharing such a personal story. I wish you both a wonderful anniversary, and endless years of happiness.

Emily Leiphart said...

Oh my gosh, Jen, what a heartfelt story! I love that you were so honest and personal. I, too, had been going through a divorce when I met my current husband so I guess that makes us soul sisters in a way. :) Happy anniversary to you and Luis!!

Deborah Frings said...

Jen - what a bittersweet story. I'm so happy that you've celebrated your first anniversary and Luis looks gorgeous!! And your friend Lou sounds like he was a wonderful person too.

Wishing you and Luis a very Happy Anniversary and many more to come, hugs Deborah xx

Jocelyn Olson said...

What an amazing and powerful story. I know you're not a writer for a living, but you could be! It's funny how connections get made, and it makes you wonder about how people come in and out of our lives. I'm so glad you got a second chance. Happy anniversary to you and Luis!

Tina said...

What a lovely story! I had to smile when you said that your dogs liked Luis, when they weren't such a fan of the other guys. That had to be a good sign. Congratulations and thank you for sharing! :)

Vicky Hayes said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely story Jen. Happy anniversary to you both. Vx

Kim S said...

What an incredible story. Life can be so hard, but I know that what you feel for Luis on your 1st anniversary is so much deeper because of your tragic experiences. Best wishes to both of you!

Amber said...

Thank you for sharing this, Jen. My heart broke when I read about the loss of Lou. I am smiling for you to know that you have found Luis and he is everything you wanted and deserve. Happy Anniversary to both of you!

Darnell said...

I just found this, Jen, and am sitting here wrung out. I'm sorry you went through those rough times (but oh the character building they do for us!), but you are a blessed woman to have known the love of these two great Lous. You wrote this before I moved into this wonderful community, but I'm still surprised I've never seen it. Today was meant to be the day I did, I guess. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel honored that you did. Huge hugs, Darnell (but can you please repost the photo of Luis so he isn't sideways?! He's far too handsome to be sideways!)