How can a story about orphaned children become inspiring and uplifting? Often, these are tragic stories drenched in misery that elicit mountains of emotions, especially empathy and compassion. There’s plenty of the latter with this story about the Haupt children, who were kept from falling apart after the loss of their parents through the love and support from the community and other family members.
The Haupt children, Jane, Max, and Henry, lost both their mother and father within a few months of each other. Gregory Haupt succumbed to colon cancer not long after his diagnosis. Four months later, their mother, Megan, died from an undiagnosed heart condition at 40. You’d think this story would be nothing but misery from start to finish. It is unmistakably tragic, but what makes it inspiring is how the community rallied behind these children (via CBS News):
As much as Gregory Haupt tried, he was unable to outsmart time.
His song, "Three Six Nine, Loves of Mine" was a tribute to his three children, Jane, Max, and Henry. The song's name represents the ages of his children and describes his love for them.
He had written it after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, just months before he died.
Unfortunately, his children would not just lose their father.
Their mother, Megan, would die just four months after Greg after an underdiagnosed heart condition caused cardiac arrest at just 40 years old—leaving the children orphaned.
Krista Lieber, Megan's twin sister, would have to break the news about their mother's death to the children.
"Henry had tears right away. Um. I just told him, you know, 'We're just gonna be a bigger family now. And we're going to be here for you. And I want you to know you're never going to be alone, ever. You're going to be taken care of,'" Krista recalled.
In the midst of the tragedy, Krista and her husband decided to make their health a priority.
Shortly after Greg died, Dave was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Krista went to get her heart checked out after she began to feel palpitations and shortness of breath. These were the exact symptoms that Megan felt before she died.
"I thought, like, my sister it is just anxiety...You know, life is just too much and I just need to chill out," Krista said.
"My sister saved my life. Her death was not in vain. There is a bigger picture here. She might have left to go be with Greg, but she also left behind a big stay with my children, she said. "Check on them, make sure you're okay. Make sure they are okay. That is how I feel."
Everything this family has been going through reminds them that life is fragile. But with the help of a village and with unwavering love, life marches on.
Megan’s twin sister, Krista Lieber, and her husband, Dave, adopted the three kids, which has doubled the size of the family. Krista and Dave already have three children. CBS This Morning’s segment was heart-wrenching, but they noticed something odd about this new family during the holiday season: they were all smiling. The memories of their parents have not faded, with the kids saying they miss the little things they did with their late parents, even if that meant simple conversations.
Krista and Dave made sure to thank and note the locals' support, with people doing something as small as being willing to take care of the family cat to offering cash donations.
“There was nothing too small or nothing too big, and it all added together to be this unified front of stability for the kids,” said Dave.
Krista also credits her sister with saving her life. After Megan’s death, Krista had bouts of shortness of breath and heart palpitations, which she dismissed as simple anxiety. When her sister died, she decided to get a cardiogram and was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart rhythm condition called “long QT syndrome.”
Given all this family has endured, the Haupt children are in a good, stable place with an all-around incredible support network.