It’s weird and very random (or is it?), the things we remember from childhood. I have a vivid memory of driving in the car with my mom and my sisters when she told us she had now had her married name longer than her maiden name. I have no idea why this has stayed with me all of these years, other than remembering feeling how strange that might feel, and wondering when I might reach the same milestone. 

Early this September, will mark what should have been our 28th wedding anniversary. I was 28 when we got married. We only had 16 of those anniversaries with both of us alive and well. But it’s my half way point. 28 years as a Boone, and 28 years as a Bogacki. Half my life intertwined completely with his. Because, despite nearly 12 years without him by my side, he is forever a part of me. Even if I marry again someday, I don’t think I will take another name, for the same reason I took his all those years ago. I want to have the same name as my children.  And even if I change my mind about this, I will never again have spent half my life or more with another name. So Bogacki wins. 

As of this writing, 2/3 of our children have lived more than half of their lives without the physical presence of their dad in their lives. It came all too quickly for our youngest, who was only 3 when Gary died. Our middle child was 4 days away from turning 11, and our oldest was 13. He will be 26 on his next birthday, so the halfway point for him is looming near as well. 

I have an ongoing dread of the time when I will reach more anniversaries without him, than with. In this dreaded grief and widowhood journey, despite initially feeling it could never be, I have become “used to” this normal that was forced upon us. In a way that only those of us in the Club can understand, he feels far away, and right next to me simultaneously. We chose each other as life partners, fully intending it to be happily ever after. And it was. Until pesky Life smacked us in the face with an early expiration date. 

So along with feeling somewhat old when I’ve held my married name longer than my maiden name, I will hold it as a source of pride and love. I never know how to express our anniversary date now, as there is a bit of a fear that some people won’t feel like the past 12 years don’t really count. But no matter anyone’s views on that, I will begin the stretch of however much longer my life is, as being a Bogacki longer than a Boone. Don’t get me wrong. I am ridiculously proud of my family, who I was, and my ancestry as a proud descendant of good ole Daniel Boone’s line.  (Yes, really!) I carry on from this point, however, the same as I’ve felt for nearly 12 years now. Representing his name, his legacy, doing my best to keep his memory alive for our children, and hopefully making him proud. 


Lisa Boone Bogacki is a solo mom of three, a physical therapist, canine and equine massage therapist, widow, daughter, sister, and friend. She was blessed with 17 years spent with her very own Prince Charming, only to have her healthy, active husband die in his sleep 3 days after their 16th wedding anniversary. That was eleven years ago, and she shares it still seems very surreal. There is no “What to Expect When Your 42-Year-Old Husband Dies in His Sleep” manual, but hopefully through the magic of the internet, she hopes we can all support and help each other.