Marrying for 25 years is an amazing achievement, especially when you have obvious obstacles in your life who are holding you back. Kris, who was once publicly vilified by her late husband Paul, married in 1993. Many people doubted their marriage, but it showed the world that love can overcome what others see as a disadvantage. For Kris, the road to a Down syndrome marriage has not been easy.
The couple lived in Syracuse, New York, where they shared the same simple pleasures as many of us. From cooking at home to bowling and attending local dances, they treasured every minute they had together. Their 25th anniversary fell on August 13th, 2018 and at the time it was thought that it was the longest marriage to a man with Down Syndrome in history, but that is a small achievement compared to the inspiration they brought.
Kris’ sister Susan said Kris and Paul complemented the couple perfectly. “They treated each other very well. They always had each other’s backs.” She admitted that she would like more people to see her as a role model for people with disabilities.
Susan felt the bond between the couple was unconditional love. When they met, they fell in love and Kris revealed she could look Paul in the eye and see her future. Susan explained that her marriage is a role model for unconditional, positive and well-respected relationships.
2018 year was bittersweet for Kris Scharoun-Deforge and Paul Deforge. The couple celebrated 25 years of marriage and renewed their vows. Less than a year after their silver anniversary, Paul died at the age of 56 from dementia.
For years, the couple lived in a government-sponsored apartment in a housing project for people with disabilities. They both worked and were financially independent.
Paul worked at ARC of Onondaga, an organization for people with disabilities. And Kris worked in a state office in New York with people with developmental disabilities.
It has taken Kris a long time to get used to life without her partner.
When we told her he wasn’t coming home, it became very difficult for her. But she said they shared some good moments together last year. After Paul died, she said Kris’ presence was very reassuring for him. She felt they had defined their own lives together.