Kris Scharoun-DeForge, 59 knew Paul, 56 was the one for her as she said, "He got me laughing and everything. He was the one for me."
Last week Kris Scharoun-DeForge, a woman with Down's syndrome said goodbye to the love of her life, Paul, 56. After 26 years of a wonderful marriage, her husband passed away after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's in April this year leaving his wife all alone. Kris was surrounded by family and friends as they gathered at a lake near New York's Adirondack Mountains to pay their respects. According to reports, she revealed that he was the one for her. "He got me laughing and everything. He was the one for me," exclaimed the 59-year-old.
If there's a better story about love and marriage, out there, please fill me in.https://t.co/eGXjCYBELo..— Don Adams (@AssemblyRoomUSA) August 17, 2019
Born in Liverpool in New York state, both Paul and Kris were diagnosed with Down's syndrome at birth and doctors warned their parents about their future struggles. They even advised them to admit their kids into institutions created to cater to their special needs. However, their parents had something else in mind. Ignoring the recommendations they decided to let them grow up amidst truly amazing and function people reports Daily News. Thanks to this decision, the two crossed paths in 1988 and fell in love instantly. After dating for almost five years, they decided to get married making them one of the first couples in the world with Down's Syndrome to tie the knot in 1995. It is also believed that couple may have had one of longest marriages of any pair with Down's syndrome.
Kris and Paul were one of the first couples in the world with Down syndrome to get married, and now Kris is showing the world the power of love after her husband's death. https://t.co/wzywPdIDDC— KDKA (@KDKA) August 17, 2019
Kris told CBS News, "I proposed to him." She continued, "I whispered in his ear, 'Would you marry me?' And he looked up at me with this big beautiful smile and he shook his head 'Yes!' And that's when I knew." However, the widow's sister Susan Scharoun revealed the complications that came before the couple could get married. The two had to attend marriage classes, counseling sessions, and face a lot of resistance from people who were different from them. "Yea, there really was quite a bit of resistance. There was a feeling that it was like children getting married versus two very capable adults," shared Scharoun.
"People like us need to have a chance," Kris said. Individuals with Downs have faced unbelievable obstacles, an issue close to my heart. https://t.co/DqWJv8vKpx— Stephen Pinshon (@PinshonStephen) August 17, 2019
It was love at first sight for the pair who met a dance for people with disabilities, but the path to the altar was a long one. The two were required to prove to the state that they understood the concept and the commitment that came with marriage as consenting adults. Scharoun shared how the two had to take tests revealing their knowledge and awareness about sex and intimacy. They also had to attend classes at planned Parenthood in order to be perfectly skilled at performing day to day chores without any hindrance. Following their marriage, the two started their lives together at a state-supported apartment community provided for people with disabilities.
Sadly, Paul started showing signs of dementia last year and was forced to reside in a separate place for intensive nursing care. A sad Kris survived every week by looking forward to Sunday dinners with her husband. When she was recovering from pneumonia last year at Upstate University Hospital, Paul dropped in to surprise his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary. The two renewed their vows once again that day. Although he faced difficulty recognizing people in his last days, he never forgot his wife. "When he would see Kris, he would just look at her, and you knew there was that recognition," said Scharoun.
Even to this day, people with Down's syndrome face a lot of pushback if they decide to get married. People often question the depth of love people like Kris and Paul have for their partners as opposed to the supposedly able-minded ones. However, this example of withstanding love goes on to show that their love could be much purer and deeper than any of us. "They are role models for everybody who wants a good relationship," Scharoun told The Washington Post. "They were a team: They deferred to each other and looked out for each other." Kris, who spread a portion of her beloved's ashes into the lake where loved to fish, said, "People like us need to have a chance. A chance to find the man of your dreams, like I did."