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youtube.com/CBS Evening News

Kris Scharoun-DeForge, Widow with Down Syndrome, Talks about Losing Her Husband of 26 Years

Joe Akins
Aug 20, 2019
06:00 P.M.

It is one thing to live with Down syndrome, and another to lose a husband after twenty-six years of marriage. 59-year-old Kris Scharoun-DeForge knows how it feels to be in both worlds, as she paid tribute to her late husband, Paul, who also lived with the syndrome.


"I whispered in his ear, 'Would you marry me?' And he looked up at me with this big beautiful smile"

The story of Kris Scharoun and Paul DeForge is one that's truly inspirational and proves that love is indeed beautiful. The couple married each other despite their health conditions and lived together happily for 26 years.

With Paul's death, a huge vacuum is now present in Kris' life, and she, alongside family and friends, paid tribute to him at his funeral.



Kris and Paul were one of the few couples in the world married with Down syndrome. After meeting in 1988, the couple dated for five years, before Kris asked Paul to be her husband.

Recalling that special moment, Kris said when she proposed, he looked at her with his big beautiful smile, shook his head and said yes. It was then that she knew he was her man.

"I proposed to him," Kris said. "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."


Their union did not come without its fair share of challenges and opposition from the outside world, as revealed by Susan, Kris' sister. Susan explained that Kris and Paul had to take marriage classes, go through counseling sessions, and also pay little attention to people who opposed their marriage.

"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," Susan said.

According to her, the opposition came from able-minded people who felt that the couple's marriage would be like that of two children tying the knot.


Such fears persist today, as many people worry if Down syndrome couples can have a deep love for each other, but in the case of Kris and Paul, they had a more profound love that many find hard to explain.


After Paul's memorial, Kris took some of her late husband's ashes and spread them near a fishing lake he loved to go. She kept the remnant, as she wants it to be mixed and buried together with hers when she is gone. Kris doesn't know if she can be happy again after Paul's death, but she vowed to try.

In her words,

"It is still far better to have loved and lost than to be told you can never love at all."

Paul's death brings an end to a union that lasted for the best part of 26 years, but in Kris, it is obvious that the flames of that love would continue to burn.

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