Widow With Down Syndrome Speaks About Losing Her Husband Of 26 Years
A widow in the US has spoken out about the love she had for her late husband after 26 years of marriage.
Kris and Paul Scharoun-DeForge, from Liverpool in New York state, met in 1988 and became one of the first couples in the world with Down syndrome to get married. However, Paul passed away in April aged 56 following a long fight with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Now Kris, 59, has opened up about their relationship in a bid to encourage other people with the genetic disorder to pursue love.
The pair tied the knot in in 1993 after Kris made the unorthodox move of proposing to Paul.
Speaking to CBS, she said: "I proposed to him. 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.
"He got me laughing, he was the one for me."
But while Kris was never in doubt that she loved Paul, the rest of society wasn't quite so accepting of the couple's marriage. Indeed, it took five years for them to win the right to get married and they had to take a number of tests pertaining to sex and feelings in order to prove they were able to consent to marriage, according to the Daily Mail.
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Kris' elder sister, Susan, said: "Yeah, there really was quite a bit of resistance. There was a feeling that it was like children getting married versus two very capable adults.
"What I hope is that other families will entertain this, you know, other people will recognise the importance of this kind of intimate love."
Family and friends gathered at New York's Adirondack Mountains to pay tribute to Paul, with Kris sprinkling a portion of his ashes by the lake where he used to enjoy fishing.
When asked whether she thought she could love again, Kris said: "I just lost the man that I love, but I'm going to try.
"People like us need to have a chance. A chance to find the man of your dreams, like I did."
The couple celebrated 25 years of marriage by renewing their vows last August and Susan said her sister's relationship was what everyone should strive for.
Speaking to the Washington Post, she said: "They are role models for everybody who wants a good relationship.
"They were a team: They deferred to each other and looked out for each other."
Featured Image Credit: CBS