'Devastation doesn't even begin to cut it': Minnesota widow mourns loss of husband to COVID-19

Clark Osojnicki poses with his dog on a hike. ( Kris Osojnicki )

A Minnesota family is grieving after a Stillwater man passed away this week from COVID-19.

"Devastation doesn't even begin to cut it,” said Kris Osojnicki, Clark's wife. “It's so real when it hits home. I hope maybe if we can save somebody else by realizing just how horrible it is if it happens to you."

Kris recalls every morning heading to work before Clark and leaving behind a post-it note, telling him, “I love you” and to “drive carefully.”

She never imagined losing him at 56 to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Clark was my best friend and my husband,” said Kris Osojnicki, Clark’s wife. “We’ve been together since we were 17… I tell people I don’t even know what life is without him. He was the best human being.”

Clark was a 33-year employee at Lathrop GPM law firm, where he worked on the finance team.

“He was smart, loyal, funny and honest to the core—the consummate representative of our firm," said Mike Sullivan Jr., the partner in charge of the Minneapolis office in a statement. "This is a tragic loss for all of us at Lathrop GPM because he made the firm a better place. We feel privileged to have been his colleague. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and his incredible dogs.”

Clark was also a standout in agility dog handling and training.   

On March 28, the couple headed to urgent care as Clark wasn’t feeling well. Kris scratched her head when Clark mentioned it would be the last time seeing and petting his dog Sonic.

“So I don’t know if he actually knew something or he was just scared,” said Kris. “I said, ‘Of course you’ll see him. We’re only going to urgent care.’”

Kris explained doctors would soon transfer Clark, who managed Type-2 diabetes, to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was placed on a ventilator and eventually passed away from COVID-19 complication this past Monday.

“One of the last things he said to me was ‘wonderful wife, wonderful life,’” said Kris.

Kris (left) and her husband Clark (right) Osojnicki share a table on a trip. (Kris Osojnicki)

Due to how contagious the disease is and treatment protocols, Kris couldn’t be there in the end. She did have one last FaceTime call with her life partner and best friend a day before he died.

“I don’t know what he heard,” said Kris. “People say that they hear. And I was able to say a bunch of things I wanted to say, but it’s not even close to being there. Under normal conditions, I would have been there 24-7.”

Since large group gatherings aren’t allowed right now for funerals, Kris is getting creative. On Monday, there will be a drive-by visitation at a Shoreview funeral home. Mourners will be asked to remain in their cars and come by in a show of communal grief.

As of Friday, 57 people have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota, according to state health officials.