In Loving Memory of My Beloved Mother Donna L. Baloga

[UPDATE 3-19-18]: Raffle tickets for a chance to win my original acrylic and liquid gold leaf painting, dedicated to my mom, Donna Baloga, will be sold at all masses from Divine Mercy until the drawing on May 13, Mother’s Day, at Our Lady of Victory Church, after the Fatima Devotion. $2/Each or 3/$5 All proceeds benefit Pennsylvanians for Human Life, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Please read THIS post for more information.

In Loving Memory of Donna L. Baloga

In Loving Memory of Donna L. Baloga

One month ago today my mother passed away; before I awoke she visited me in a vivid dream. “Hey, Chris,” a familiar voice said. I looked up for a fraction of a second and saw a figure in front of me, to my right.

I almost got lost in another dream stream when the second “hey,” caught my full attention. I looked back and saw my mom, smiling. She was bathed in bright white light. Her figure was outlined in different spectrums of pastel colored light. “I miss you,” I told her; she neared and we gave each other a long hug.

She didn’t say anything more; she didn’t need to. This encounter assured me she is still alive in me and always will be. Furthermore, I knew she was at peace.  Read More …

One might assume this was a typical dream; however, when I’m contacted in a dream by spirit, whether it’s my mom or sister, there is a heightened state of reality. The dream feels palpable, more in the moment. I’m more in control. Most of the time, I’m what psychology would call a non-recaller. Streams of consciousness like this, however, I can’t forget.

During my mom’s final days, I told her how blessed I was to have her as my mother; how much I’ve learned from her; how I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her. Now, I’d like to write you a little something to get you acquainted with her even more than you already might be.

I remember as a child opening a closet filled with bundles of every color yarn. Each was organized by color and project—that is, until I opened that door. When mom was busy doing laundry, I’d riffle through that closet, mix up the yarn, and cut off pieces to play with. Let’s just say, when she did open that door and it all busted out, she was not impressed with the mess.

Each year of my childhood, my mom would stay up night after night before Halloween, designing and sewing custom costumes for my sister, brother, and me. As an awkward and shy child, Halloween was the one time of year I felt comfortable in school. I now wonder if she knew how much the costumes improved my self-esteem. I was proud to strut those award-winning costumes around at parties, in town, and especially at the annual Dallas Halloween Parade, where my siblings and I would win best costume prizes each year, thanks to my mom’s hard work.

Even though my mom wanted my sister to take interest in sewing, it was me, the artsy-fartsy one, who showed curiosity; although my mom would have much rather me lift weights, she did teach me how to hand sew and set up and use a sewing machine; I am so thankful to have this knowledge and have made many projects, including custom bowties, art, and have tailored many of my clothes.

I delighted in flipping through the fashion magazines she’d subscribed to. She was a runway model, and a teacher at Barbizon School of Modeling, after all. It was her absorption in the fashion world that sparked my interest in style, clothing, and exploring my style of dress.

At every event, my mom carried a camera with her and forced everyone to take too many photos. “Come on, just one more,” she’d say. At the time, it was irritating because one, or two, or even three were never enough. Today, I’m blessed to have those memories. Nowadays, people associate my presence with a Nikon pressed to my face, taking a million photos. Now you know who I got it from.

My mom always supported her loved ones at special events; and, whenever there was potential for celebration, my mom gave it her all to make the occasion happen; e.g., graduations, birthdays, my sister’s baby shower, my book signing, anniversaries; she supported us, making sure we gathered to party. They might have been stressful to organize, but always worth it.

I experienced my mother’s loving kindness and compassion towards the unborn, animals, and all those who are not able to speak up for themselves. I am blessed for her passionate actions and I will carry these values with me for the rest of my life.

As a child, one of my most fond memories with my mom was story time. Each night, she’d tuck me in and sit beside me; she’d then read me something from one of the many volumes of The Sesame Street Treasury, or a Dr. Seuss book. She was brilliant at narrating, making me giggle at every sentence. I especially enjoyed when she’d get our cats involved in the fun.

I was blessed to care for my mom when her body and mind was failing her. Watching her, the strongest woman I know, deteriorate within a few months was heartbreaking; as I braced her up to help her walk, or fed her when she no longer could feed herself, I kept one thing in mind when the situation seemed too dreadful to handle: I was giving back. I was returning the love and care she gave me as a child. Albeit tinged with pain, this realization was a wonderful feeling. It kept me strong for her. If anyone reading this has the opportunity to care for a loved one, I encourage you to take it! Work, playing with your phone, Tv, going to the bar, gaming—all those inane activities can wait when someone you love is in need. Giving back is one of the most rewarding feelings I believe I have ever felt.

For the last few months, I have become too familiar with a few horrifying things: first, brain cancer, specifically glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of cancer; second, navigating the buildings of hospitals and hospices now with such ease it was like I work there; third, people can die of a broken heart; and lastly, the notion that nothing is guaranteed—it has bashed me over the head so hard it’s left me feeling assaulted.

None of us are guaranteed anything but knowing impermanence is an undeniable and inescapable fact of human existence. As hard as it is to hear, we are not guaranteed to marry the love of our life, to have our goals come true, to get that dream job, have the perfect body, to live long enough to enjoy a relaxing retirement, win the lottery, stay healthy, outlive our children, or to even live another day. We can’t change everything, but there is some hope—we can change the way we react.

Losing my sister, her death still unresolved, and my mother, in less than a year is life-changing. I am in the same body, but I am living a different life. This experience has engrained in me something so cliché, but inevitably true: We must remember, our existence in these earthly bodies are just a tiny blip in time. What we do with our time here will leave a lasting imprint. I believe it is our responsibility to leave the most exemplary impression we can, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones, and for the rest of the universe. Let our attention be used on what karma we are creating at this moment.

I miss my mom’s smile, her laugh, her goofy personality, and our hikes through the forest. I don’t get to call my mom on the phone, spend special occasions with her, laugh with her, or physically hug her; I am blessed, however, to have the chance to make her proud by making a difference, in her memory.

I hope you’ll join me in raising money for a nonprofit called Pennsylvanian’s For Human Life. While volunteering at this pregnancy crisis center, my mom tirelessly helped her community, supported the needs of mothers-to-be, comforted victims of abuse, and informed the public on protecting the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception.

I want her volunteer work for this organization to continue forever in her name; accordingly, I painted an acrylic titled “Madonna and Child” in honor of her and her devoted volunteering at this organization. The painting will be raffled off [date to come]. All proceeds will benefit the Human Life center where my mom gave her life to benefit the protection of the unborn so they may enjoy their life.

Please check back soon for complete information on the raffle.

Special thanks to my mom’s friends. You are so important to her; the two fundraisers you worked so hard on were a beautiful way to celebrate my mom’s life. If you haven’t already seen the photos I took, click HERE to view the Baloga Beach Party at Harveys Lake. Click HERE to view the Baloga Fund Raiser Reception at the Lakeside Skillet. Thanks to you, we will all cherish these memories forever.

Most importantly, I want to thank my father for taking care of my mom through sickness and in health. I only hope most partners in this world would go to the lengths he did to care for her. 

Each night my mom was in care, he stayed with her. When there was no room for him inside the hospital, he slept outside her window in a van, never wanting to leave her side. Yes, as he can tell you, his patience was tested; my father, however, took his vows to heart and love reigned. I will never forget how admirable my fathers undertakings were.

I will always long for the days when she was living, laughing, and loving life with us. Every phone call, every card sent, each visit from a friend, every hug and caring expression shared with her was appreciated; not just by her, but by all of her loved ones. You all have brought so much joy and comfort to my mom and our family during this time; and for that, we are blessed.

If love alone could have kept my mom here, she would have lived forever.

*For a complete list of her accomplishments, please read her obituary HERE.

*I’ve compiled some of my favorite photos that were meant for the viewing. Due to technical difficulties, the funeral directors couldn’t get the flash drive running; the good new is you can now view them all HERE.








In Loving Memory of My Beloved Sister Angela (Angie) Baloga

In Loving Memory of My Dear Sister Angela (Angie) Baloga
November 4, 1987 – March 22, 2017

My only wish each day is to wake up from this nightmare. A morning call on March 22, 2017 altered my life forever. “Angela died,” I hear my mother cry, barely able to get it out. Those words, the reality of it all will haunt me forever.

A dear part of me was stolen. This was not supposed to happen. . . not to a young, loving mother, not to my baby sister. This was not Read More …

in His plan . . .

Due to Angela’s age and no obvious signs pointing to her death, a routine state police investigation was performed and the coroner’s autopsy results have stated an undetermined cause of death. This conclusion gives us no peace—the horror lingers. We do know she was speaking out of stomach pains the day before, yet there was nothing in Angela’s system that would have caused death.

My stomach feels gutted; my heart bares another wound so deep I fear no bandage or stitch can heal it. I continue catching myself about to text Angie, or saying to myself “I can’t wait to tell Angela . . .” It is this, knowing the person I trusted most will no longer be around. It is a devastating truth.

Although I wake each morning, heartbroken in this never ending nightmare, I am fortunate to have nothing but beautiful memories of my little sister. One of the earliest, of many, is an example of her generosity. After little Angela attended a party at a popular ’90s venue called the Roller Rink, we rode back home with our parents; I caught sight of Angela’s goodie bag overflowing with candy and toys. Knowing how coveted these items were at that age I’d never think she’d share. Without hesitation, Angela handed over the bag to me and allowed me to pick out whatever my heart desired.

Love. A word Angela lived by more than any other. It is a word accurate enough to describe how she lived her life, with love. It’s also a word sprinkled in every room of her home: on decorations, drawings, and statues. Adornments of Eiffel Towers, white and pink roses, posters of embracing couples, and candles adorned her living space. Angela was a true romantic.

Angela’s unrelenting love for her daughter Lacey was the most incredible relationship you could ever imagine. Lacey was more than her daughter, she was her sidekick, her princess, her best friend, her everything. Whenever Angela arrived to pick Lacey up, Lacey’s eyes would widen and she’d scurry to mama like it was Christmas morning. Angela always made time for Lacey, no matter what she was doing. If Lacey wanted her attention, Angela would gladly give it.

After Angela passed, I heard a voice repeat something in my head, something Angela always told Lacey, “Tell her [Lacey] mommy loves her. Mommy loves you.” A message straight from Angela.

Angela was taken from Lacey at four years old, a heartbreaking reminder that life is not fair, it is not equal, and it can be so cruel. Angela’s love, despite the world’s cruelty, will carry on in our hearts. Angela would have wanted that more than anything.

Angela Baloga and her daughter Lacey Bella

Love is all she wanted for others, too. If you were fortunate enough to know her, she’d be sure to shower you with it.

Many were intimidated by Angela’s beauty but you needn’t ever worry, she was as down to earth as they come; and her immense popularity was not controlled by status, money, or physical beauty. No. Her popularity was from the love she gave, genuine to all people, for who they were inside. An example of this was her dedication to caring for the elderly and disabled in local group homes. The compassion, care, and attention she gave these people was admirable. You’d have peace of mind leaving your loved ones in Angela’s care.

Her acceptance of me during our early teens, despite what others thought was acceptable at the time, is an example of her compassion, her willingness to leave judgment behind. She genuinely cared about who I was as a person. She cared about who people were, as they were, not who she wanted them to be.

Loyalty. Although others may have let Angela down, she forgave. Angela was a person you’d want to work hard to keep in your life because you knew she’d give you everything a meaningful relationship deserved—plus a smashing good time!

Angela graduated high school and college with honors and continued her career with a passion for cleaning by owning her own business called Angela’s Shimmer and Shine Cleaners. She also incorporated her exquisite interior design skills into her work. I am honored she chose me to design the company logo for her.

I am so grateful Angela was a part of my major accomplishments and that I was a part of hers. Her support for the people she loved was infinite. When no one else bothered, you can count on her to be there for you.

Without regrets, Angela truly lived a life made for a Hollywood movie; much of it like her idol Marilyn Monroe. If you knew her, you’d agree the similarities between them were uncanny.

After the viewing, Angela’s loved ones gathered for a toast to celebrate her life. Before we began, we each gave a word to describe her. It didn’t take more than a breath to think of one, as her personality was so full of life. To name a few: loving, giving, kind, innocent, beautiful, an Angel, silly, and one-of-a kind.

If you wanted to be a part of something exciting, you flocked to Angela, the life of the party. Her angelic smile would comfort you, make you feel like everything would be alright. In fact, Angela was crowned “Best Smile” in her yearbook under the “Senior Superlatives” section. When you made a joke, no matter how unfunny, she’d laugh, giving you a sense of loving acceptance. She wanted you to know she thought you were great.

There is a place in my heart only Angela can fill. The bond we shared was incomparable to anyone else; I am grateful and proud to call her my sister. Although she and I had so many future plans, one of them being a part of my wedding and I a part of hers, I will always carry her in my heart wherever I go. Thank you, Angela. I love you with my whole heart. I miss you greatly. You stayed strong, just like I told you to.

Our sincerest thanks for all your heartfelt thoughts, prayers, support, sustenance, and your presence with us at the viewing and funeral. Your positive thoughts and prayers during this difficult time have comforted our family and loved ones. Please keep Angela alive by embracing and retelling the wonderful memories you’ve shared with her.

In loving memory of Angela Baloga, who will forever be watching over us and be present in our hearts.

Your big brother Chris