the dead mom’s club, four years later

Today marks four years since my Mom, Georgie Hernandez, died peacefully surrounded by her family. You want to know what one of her pet peeves was? She used to HATE when she would read the obituaries and that is all it would say! Even knowing that she was dying, she and I would read them, and she would get all heated and wonder aloud why people didn’t just say how they died. ‘so-and-so fell down the stairs, or it was a car accident or had cancer or COPD or whatever’.

They always left you thinking about the how and not about the who. Well, it left us wondering I guess.

Well I say in honor of my Mom and the life she lived, let’s focus on the who. Us? you say? Who is that?

You know it if you are in it- the dreaded ‘Dead Mom’s Club’

It is a club that you don’t want to be in, but once you are and find other members, there is solace in the comfort that others understand. They won’t feed you bullshit about things getting easier. Yeah, maybe it will. But maybe it won’t. It’s ok if it doesn’t though. It’s ok if you still have grief contractions randomly after four dam years or cry because you can’t tell your Mom about your trip to New Orleans or that Lost is back on tv. They don’t laugh at that, they embrace it. They get it. They understand.

The thing is, if you are not in this club, I don’t want you to be!! But once you’re in. You’re in.

You all know what I’m saying. My fellow DMC members.

So back to the ‘who’ (and I do not mean the Superbowl half time show, I really don’t)

My friend and fellow DMC member, Amy Hammond, actually may be even one of the first people I ever knew whos Mom died way before mine. To be honest, I always saw her differently after knowing that. She made me think about not having my Mom, and it scared me. I am sure I make those of you with your Moms in your lives a little wary- I put it front and center that she may not always be there in your life… I am sorry for that, but also not.

So Amy Hammond told me about a photography project I had to do.

She told me I had to do a portrait study of women who have lost their Moms.

And so I am doing it.

Here we will focus on the who.

Who was your Mom?

My Mom is in me, and even more she is in my daughter Georgie. With her name, for sure but in her sassy attitude even more. I can’t wait for my portrait to be done and to be surrounded by all of my beautiful memories of my Mom.

If you want to be a part of this, please email me and I’ll get you some more info on the idea- and we can start scheduling our shoots- If you haven’t lost your Mom but know someone who has and may be interested in being a part of this project, please pass this post on to them.

(send it to

  1. Katie Slater says:

    thinking of you on this 4 year anniversary. xoxoxo

  2. Jaime says:

    DMC – HOLLA!!! Billie Jean, baby, that’s all I got to say, oh, and I love you!

  3. Carla,
    It will be one year on March 12th that I lost my beautiful mom, Phyllis Elaine Bertapelli, to her third battle with breast cancer……..I am also a part of the dead dad’s club, losing my father, LeRoy Louis Bertapelli, to his third battle with cancer on November 5, 2004……..but I see them both in my children and siblings everyday and would love to take part in this project with you!
    oxoxox to you on this very blessed day

  4. Loved seeing the photos of your Mom on FB – she was beautiful – I wish I could have met her.

    I totally love that pic of you and Georgie – pure joy and happiness.

    Sending you big hugs and snuggles.


  5. Great idea Carla! Thinking about you.

  6. Carla, it will be 18 years this year since my mom lost her battle with ALS. I will be thinking of you and that you will be thinking of all the wonderful times you had with your mom. I would love to take part in this project as well. Thank you for all the post your write about your mother. They always encourage me and make me remember my mother.

  7. Wonderful idea. I lost my mom, suddenly, 8 years ago. It was 2 weeks before my wedding. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her and the bucket loads of wisdom she poured into me. I only hope to be half as loving and giving of a person as she was.

  8. Katy says:

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this. I needed it today! (Joined the club in August 2008). The best part about the club is the lack of eggshells, you know?

    I doubt I can be involved, because I live in Canada, but I look forward to seeing the results!

  9. Susannah McGlamery says:

    love you. and your beautiful, hilarious, sassy-ass, fantastically creative, patient, unconditionally loving and accepting mother who somehow found time to love children who weren’t even part of your crew.

  10. Rebecca Earl says:

    Carla, I love you, loved your mother, and would love to be part of your project as a way to honor both Georgie and my mother, Virginia Doherty. They both died being robbed of breath, but not of spirit… even to the end.

  11. Amy says:

    Love you Carla! So happy you are doing this. Your words are so true (and made me cry!). Now all we need is a secret handshake. XOXO

  12. Noah Baerman says:

    You go sister. Great idea and I’m sure the results will be beautiful and emotionally resonant.

  13. Jeannine says:

    I HATE being in this club…my mom died at the age of 50, on July 11th of 2000, when I was 24, after her second bout of cancer. You are right…it changes everything. I think part of the reason I am so driven to try EVERYTHING and be a part of so much is that I feel some invisible clock ticking. My mom and dad planned to do so much “some day…when they retired…”, and never got the chance.

    That being said, I learned a TON in the short time she was on this Earth….how to be loving, kind, patient, accepting, creative, inventive, fair, demure, entrepreneurial, artistic, ambitious, studious, punctual, laugh, make incredible chocolate chip cookies, overcome obstacles, parent, help others, pray, show faith….

    I am so sorry for your loss – and my thoughts and prayers are with you and all of the members of the DMC.

  14. Eileen says:

    Such an amazing and powerful post, Carla. I have no doubt that this project will be an incredible journey for all involved. Thank you for reminding all of us who are fortunate not to be members yet how very lucky we are lest we forget to cherish every moment we have with our loved ones…Hugs to you all…

  15. Thea says:

    I am unfortunately part of the the DMC. My mom died at 58 yrs old 8 years ago March 11th to lung cancer.

    I am an only child raised by her alone, and I must say I do miss her so much. I feel as though I have adapted to living without her better but teh pain, unfortunately the pain doesn’t feel less. I just found your blog tonight, so I am not sure where you are located but I would love to be a part of this project.

  16. Tania says:

    (Gasp) Carla, you just know how to make a person cry…. beautiful post.

  17. Macy Robison says:

    Carla – I love this. I’m a 10 year member of the club and have a similar project to shoot moms and their kids (specifically daughters) because I only have a couple photos with my mom and I alone. But I really love this project. I’d love to be involved somehow. I’ll send an e-mail…

  18. Susan says:

    I’m a 11-month member to the DMC. I have to say, it’s the worst club I’ve ever been in. The price of admission is way too high! I lost my Mom to Glioblastoma Multiforme IV (brain cancer) last November after an 8-month illness. She was my best friend, companion, head cheerleader, and confidant. I miss her so much it hurts. Your project is such a beautiful tribute to mothers and the daughters who love them.

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