An unusual couple was critiqued for their love, but the two lived a happy married life for almost three decades before the man passed on — this is their story.
Everyone deserves love no matter what they look or act. Every person deserves to have that one person that'll be in their corner for better and hopefully for worse.
This is a true story of love in its most unconditional form, a relationship many thought was silly but lasted longer than people thought it would.
Pictures of couple Kris Scharoun-DeForge and Paul Scharoun-DeForge | Source:twitter.com/tesyev || twitter.com/WOWT6News
THE SPECIAL DANCE
Kris Scharoun-DeForge, 59, met the man she came to love, Paul Scharoun-DeForge, in 1988. The pair were born in the town of Liverpool in New York state, and they were both born with Down syndrome.
At the time, well-meaning doctors advised their families to place them in suitable institutions, but both families refused.
Kris and Paul met at a dance organized for disabled people in the 1980s, and they immediately fell in love with one another.
Reflecting on the special day, she often says: "I looked into Paul's eyes and saw my future."
Kris's elder sister, Susan Scharoun, revealed that the couple faced a lot of resistance in the early days of their courtship. Susan said:
"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."
A RECORD-BREAKING WEDDING
Kris and Paul dated for five years before they tied the knot, but that time was not just spent on courtship rituals. They spent most of it fighting to be allowed to have a wedding.
It was an uphill battle at first because too many people thought the relationship was doomed to fail. At the time, the couple seemed to be the only ones with an intellectual disability thinking of getting married.
They had to take tests of their sexual knowledge and feelings and prove they could consent to marriage. The couple wanted nothing more than to share their life together in Syracuse, New York, but the wedding officials made it as hard as possible.
When they finally got married, the event was a dreamy one, with Kris's sister being the maid of honor while Paul's brother was the best man. The reception was organized for 150 guests, and it took place at Le Moyne Manor.
It was a dream come true for Kris, who had always wanted to be a bride. She was known to clip wedding photos from magazines and use them for room decorations as a kid.
After the wedding, the couple took each other's names; however, the bride's name came first in an unconventional twist.
The marriage has been dubbed the first between two mentally challenged people, with the only other case being a couple from the UK, who followed the new trend about two years later.
A SAD ENDING
Contrary to what some thought, Kris and Paul lived happily for decades before they had to be separated. They celebrated 25 years of marriage on August 13, 2019, after Kris was hospitalized with pneumonia.
Paul began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2018, so he eventually had to go into care. This left Kris frazzled as she was used to doing everything with her loving husband. As time went on, she got used to it, and her husband's disease worsened.
Paul passed away in April at 56, after a long battle with the disease, leaving Kris widowed.
She spread his ashes in a lake in New York and hopes that hers will be spread there when her time comes.