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Honouring a health-care hero as Manitoba marks 1,000 COVID-19 deaths

Tired doctor in personal protective equipment in the lab. Getty Images / File Photo

“It’s hard to believe that they’re gone. This always will seem unreal, no matter what,” said Celine Petit as she described a Manitoba couple who died less than two weeks apart because of COVID-19.

Monique Buote, 55, died on Nov. 3, 2020, while Perry Buote, 57, succumbed to the virus on Nov. 19.

The couple had been married for 33 years.

Petit, who runs the kitchen at the Villa Youville Personal Care Home’s Pavillon in Ste. Anne, Man., was close friends with the Buotes.

“I met Monique because she was one of the home care workers there,” said Petit. “From pretty much day one, her and I clicked and we became just inseparable. I found her to be an amazing mother and an amazing wife. She was a straight shooter too … and that’s what I really liked about her. She was very honest and open.

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“Perry would end up coming to the kitchen (and do) part-time work just to keep him busy,” she added. “Perry was determined and very caring. He was there for everybody, he was just an amazing guy. He would challenge himself all the time.”

Read more: Remembering Manitobans lost to COVID-19

According to Petit, Montique’s death was very sudden.

“She was tired. She just wanted a good sleep. When I talked to her the night before, she said she would go to the hospital the next day but we were too late. She ended up passing away in her sleep.

“When we called the ambulance on Monique, we said to the ambulance driver, ‘I think we need another ambulance because Perry is very sick,'” added Petit. “It looked like he was getting better but then he ended up catching that COVID pneumonia and it just took him.”

The Buotes left behind two adult children with developmental disorders.

The day after Perry died, Petit decided to move in with the kids.

Read more: Manitoba’s COVID-19 death toll hits 1,000, 364 new cases reported

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“Monique would’ve done this for anyone that she loved, as much as I love her,” said Petit. “There’s just no hesitation. You do what you need to do for the people that you love in your life.”

The story of the Buotes and how Petit stepped up in a time of need is profiled in a feature produced and edited by 680 CJOB’s Tristan Field-Jones. Click below to listen to the audio.

If you lost relatives during the pandemic and would like to share their story, we’d like to hear from you.

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