Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

On School #32 Remembering Greg

I am reposting this from my website, donnaodonnellfigurski, in memory of a former first grade student, Greg, who left us too early ten years ago.

Greg was a good student and a happy child for most of his 1st grade year with me. His mother, Val, was my dynamic class mom. She could handle anything!

Then one day she told me she was worried. She was about to give Greg a brother, and he was upset about her going into the hospital. He was afraid she would not return. I told Val not to worry. I told Greg not to worry, too.

His mother was going into the hospital for a happy event. Greg was reassured and our whole class set out to write a book to welcome Greg’s new baby. (When all else fails – WRITE!) Greg also wrote his own book to welcome his new brother, David. (As David grew up, he landed on my classroom doorstep, twice – both in 1st grade and 3rd grade.)

About ten years after Greg was in my class, Val gave me some sad news. She told me that Greg was in the hospital. This time I couldn’t tell her not to worry, as I had done so many years ago. I could not tell Greg that either.

Greg was diagnosed with cancer. He was only 16. My memory of him stops there. But I remember him always. I remember his smile. I remember his fun-loving ways. I remember him six years old and in my 1st grade class. And, I miss him.

(Photo compliments of Me and Val.)

PS. Happy 20th birthday to David, Greg’s little brother who he was so worried about.


October 28, 2011 - Posted by | On School | , , , ,


  1. It is so touching that you remember this young man in such a fond way. I am sure that means a lot to his family, even though the story is sad!

    Comment by Sanner | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • San, Greg’s whole family meant a lot to me. They still do. Sometimes you just don’t teach a child – you interact with the whole family. Greg’s youngest brother, David, was in my class too. I was sorry to miss the middle brother, Steven.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  2. Oh, and I forgot to say what an adorable kid and a handsome young man Greg was. I am sure he is sorely missed.

    Comment by Sanner | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  3. I didnt know my cousin greg for to long, because he died when i was only 2 but from what my

    Comment by Leah Woods-Banna | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  4. cont. from the short amount of memories i had with greg i knew that he was the only one who could stop me from crying not my mom not my dad just him. Thank you for that kind post it was so touching i had tears coming out of my eyes. God bless gregory

    Comment by Leah Woods-Bannan | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Leah,

      Thank you for reading my blog. You would have loved Greg. I’m glad you have the wonderful memories of him. That helps him to live on. Your memory of Greg is very touching. It made me smile.


      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 28, 2011 | Reply

      • As always your blogs touches my heart. This story is so moving because it involves the life and loss of a precious child. I am thinking about Greg and David and their family, praying blessings upon all of them.

        Comment by patti | October 29, 2011

  5. Patti, thank you! I know Greg’s family will appreciate your warm thoughts. I don’t think you can ever get over losing a child. My heart goes out to my friend, Val, and her family.


    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  6. Thanks for sharing….a wonderful memory, a beautiful young man….a loving family…Prayers and Thoughts Always.
    Beth Litchfield

    Comment by Beth Litchfield | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  7. Beth, thanks for adding your thoughts to Greg’s memory.


    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  8. Thank you for sharing such fond memories of Greg and his loving family. Even bearing such a tragedy Val remains an inspiration to us all! Our thoughts and prayers continue.

    Comment by Rose Von Tobel | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  9. Rose, thank you for reading my blog and for sharing your thoughts about Val and her family. They certainly have gone through an ordeal these many years that is never ending.


    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  10. I just read these comments for the first time and I continue to cry over the death of our beautiful Gregory. As the holidays come I am very eager to see both of my son’s delight over their gifts. I can’t wait to see Steve after 6 months! There is always that horrible time in the morning when I only see two of my sons. Thank you for being the beautiful writer and friend that I have always known.
    xoxox Val

    Comment by Val | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  11. Dear Val,

    I am sure the holidays are especially hard as you continue to miss Greg. No one knows, unless they have lost a child, what pain a parent endures each and every day without their child’s presence.

    A first step, a skinned knee, clothes strewn across the bedroom floor, last minute studying for the BIG test in whatever subject, the morning squabble for the bathroom, making a first soccer goal, a first date – the list of memories is endless.

    Then laughter gone silent!

    I don’t have to tell you to cherish Greg’s sixteen years. I know you do! I know you remember his every presence. And your remembrances keep Greg alive.

    He will be at your dinner table on Christmas Day. He will be ringing in the New Year by your side. Though Greg will remain forever young, he will always be in your heart and mind.

    I wish you, Ray, Steven, and David a comfortable and happy holiday.

    Donna (Greg’s and David’s 1st Grade Teacher)

    Comment by Donna | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  12. Oops, I should have added that David was in my class twice. I also had him in my 3rd grade class. What fun!


    Comment by Donna | December 20, 2011 | Reply

  13. And again, I am reminded how beautiful you are and how much I love to read every word you write!
    Regarding your “rumors” blog…..shame on them for not hiring the best teacher EVER!
    Can you tell my David to cut his hair?
    BTW…..I had the best Christmas ever in the past ten years. Woodloch, Pa. Baby! Steve brought his girlfriend home. Her name is Kristyn and we loved her! So pretty and a perfect fit for our Steve!

    Comment by Val | January 15, 2012 | Reply

  14. Again, thanks, Val. You are one of my biggest fans.

    Regarding the “Rumors” blog . . . it is what it is. I think about the job every day and wish I had been given the opportunity, but perhaps a younger teacher has been made happy by her/his opportunity. I just hope he/she will love (it) teaching as much as I did/do.

    That is wonderful about your PA vacay. I love Pennsylvania. You know that is my home state. I am a PA girl. Glad you loved Steve’s girlfriend. It’s so important. We want our kids to be happy. Kiersten has been happily married to her spouse for fourteen years. Jared is with a lovely young woman. We have been lucky.

    As for David’s LONG hair – he’ll cut it when he gets tired of it – or maybe he won’t. But … he’ll still be David. Give him a hug for me.


    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | January 15, 2012 | Reply

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