Watch: When This Man Regained His Hearing, His Boyfriend Proposed
We’re not crying, YOU’RE crying…
Earlier this year Kerry Kennedy, 37, and his boyfriend Hayward Duresseau, 27, were on a vacation in San Francisco when Duresseau contracted bacterial meningitis. He was hospitalized for three weeks back home in Louisiana, where the life-threatening illness took his vision, partially paralyzed him, and left him deaf.
While Duresseau recovered his vision and movement in the hospital, his hearing was damaged permanently. Kennedylearned as much sign language as possible so they could communicate.
“In a relationship, communication is key, you know? We were left without communication for about six months,” Kennedy, who had been dating Duresseau for three years, told BuzzFeed News.
“I could see everything that was going on — I could communicate, but the world couldn’t communicate back with me,” Duresseau said. He remembers his illness as “‘being in jail” inside his mind. However, he said Kennedy’s efforts to learn American Sign Language (ASL) helped him heal. “He would place the ‘I love you’ sign on my leg or on my back, and that’s when I knew I could go to sleep.”
Hayward was recently approved to receive a cochlear implant, a device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear and would enable him to hear again. While his boyfriend recovered from having the implant surgically inserted, Kennedy planned an unforgettable way to celebrate the return of Durresseau’s hearing.
“We had talked a little bit about getting married — well, signed about it, at least,” Kenedy revealed. “I wanted the first thing that I said to him to be asking for his hand.”
After getting permission from his boyfriend’s audiologist and calling the people closest to the couple to attend the big proposal, he asked Duresseau to spend forever with him.
Watch the heartwarming video below:
The couple is committed to learning ASL, even though Hayward now has the cochlear implant, to ensure they never have to go without communication again. “The deaf community rallied behind us and helped us a lot to get through that six-month period,” Kerry said.