Lindsay Overbay's two young kids were snuggled on her lap Tuesday morning before she left for her job as a medical assistant at the Allina Clinic on Crossroads Campus Drive in Buffalo.
That's the final image Donnie Overbay will have of the three of them.
On Wednesday, he told his 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter that their mom with the big, buoyant laugh wasn't coming home. They don't yet know that she died of gun violence, and he knows they don't fully comprehend that she isn't coming back. "When it gets to be a couple weeks, I have to tell them, 'She's in heaven watching over you guys,' " Donnie Overbay said, adding that he's also going to tell them she was the "one of the strongest, smartest, wittiest" people he knew.
He's coping with his own shock at the abrupt, violent loss of his wife of 10 years at the hands of a gunman at the clinic Tuesday.
On Wednesday Allina officials also identified Sherry Curtis, a licensed practical nurse at Allina Health since 2013, who was also injured in the shooting. The families of the other three surviving victims asked that they not be identified.
Overbay, 37, was a medical assistant who had recently become a certified nursing assistant and applied to a program to learn sonography because she was fascinated with internal organs, especially the human heart. She also wanted to earn more money for her young family.
Born Lindsay Wilfahrt in New Ulm, she was the youngest of three daughters. She earned a journalism degree at St. Cloud State University, then moved to Las Vegas to write for a poker website. That's where she met Donnie Overbay, who became a licensed union electrician.
After they met, she went back to school to become a medical assistant, landed a job and liked the work, her husband said. "She loved old guys and old women, especially when they were at the age where they said the first thing that came to mind," he said, adding that she loved babies, too, but hated to cause them pain with shots.
Donnie Overbay said he met his wife at a Las Vegas bar and when he called her the next day to invite her to a softball game, she went to the game even though she wasn't sure who he was. He won her over even though they disagreed about having kids.
"I wanted five. She wanted none. We negotiated to three and ended up with two," Donnie Overbay said. Once their kids came along, her perspective flipped.
The couple moved from Vegas to Rochester, where both worked at Mayo Clinic. Overbay said his wife wanted a change and landed the job at Allina in October 2018. They bought a house in Maple Lake.
Donnie Overbay was working toward the credentials necessary to work as a union electrician in Minnesota but jobs dried up during the pandemic. His wife was going to school and working part-time at the clinic. Wednesday would have been her day off.
A month ago, he asked his wife if she ever thought about writing anymore. "She said, 'I really would like to write children's books based on our kids' lives,' " he said. "Now I don't get to see her live that dream out."
Naiya Stubbe of Prior Lake met Overbay through a mutual friend almost two decades ago when both were students in St. Cloud. On Wednesday morning, Stubbe started a GoFundMe campaign called "Lindsay Strong!"
She called her late friend "the most lovable human being. Her laugh was the best sound. It was hard not to fall immediately in love with her," Stubbe said.
Her husband said the laugh was loud and distinctive. "If you walked into the clinic and you heard her laughing, you knew exactly who it was," he said.
Stubbe lived an hour away from the Overbays but stayed close through daily Snapchat messages and, when the two could find time, video phone calls that stretched into three hours.
But they hadn't been able to see each other because of Overbay's work and risk of COVID-19. "She always wanted to keep people safe, and we kept talking about when we could get together," Stubbe said.
Stubbe heard about the shooting first on Tuesday and she texted Overbay, hoping for her usual rapid-fire response.
Then she texted Donnie Overbay, who was home working on the puzzle he had started with his daughter, who had moved on to watching "Pokemon."
He tried to reach his wife, then frantically got dressed and coaxed his daughter into the truck.
"I remember running around the house and I still had puzzle pieces in my hand," Overbay said.
He had planned to pick up his son and buy Valentines on Tuesday; instead he picked him up and headed to Prior Lake to drop the kids with Stubbe so he could go to his wife.
His daughter told him he was driving too fast and both children wanted to know what was happening. "I had to lie to them," Overbay said, breaking down in an interview for the first time. "That was the most difficult part."
He learned his wife had been shot and lost a tremendous amount of blood at the clinic before she was taken to Buffalo Hospital for transfusions and flown to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. He received the worst news when he arrived there.
"When they told me when I got to the hospital that she didn't make it, I didn't cry. I was just in shock," he said.
He saw her body. Then when he had to say the words to his wife's sister on the phone, it hit him.
Alone at the hospital, Overbay said he slumped into a corner, curled into a ball and sobbed.
He said he's been overwhelmed and buoyed by the outpouring of support in the past day — everyone from the owner of his gym to his son's former karate teacher.
But he wonders: "Did I do enough? Did I show her that I truly loved her every day? I just would like her to realize how much she was loved and how much she's going to be missed."