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.
Seemingly overnight, Krista and her husband, Dave, went from three children to six and from one dog to two. They did it all without hesitating.
And they weren’t the only ones who stepped in to help the children.
The St. Louis community where the family lived also embraced the children with love and support. Krista said that random strangers would reach out to her asking how they could help.
“Some people would do something as small as helping with the cat. Other people donated, you know, lots of money. There was nothing too small and nothing too big. And it all added together to like, be this kind of unified front of stability for the kids,” she said.
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.
But doctors discovered that Krista has, a heart condition that can cause fainting, seizures, and sudden death. Krista said that had her sister not died, she would have never gone to the doctor.
“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.
“Rely on the kindness of strangers when it comes. Thank goodness for counseling and the school’s involvement and the kindness of these strangers and all the friends and family that have surrounded us and made us feel love. Because these kids feel it, too. We all do,” Krista said.