MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Edwarda O’Bara, a Miami Gardens woman who spent more than four decades in a coma, died this week, her sister said.
“My sister was the best sister in the whole wide world,” Colleen O’Bara said Friday.
Her sister, Edwarda, 59, died Wednesday, almost 43 years after first slipping into a comatose state brought on by a diabetic episode.
All that time later, Colleen O’Bara remembered her sister as she was when they were teens.
“I can remember she was just the most generous person,” O’Bara said.
Generosity runs in the O’Bara family.
Colleen, like her mother Kaye O’Bara before her, both dedicated their lives to caring for Edwarda.
“She caught the flu and was throwing up,” O’Bara said of the January day in 1970. “So the medication she was taking for the diabetes, she was throwing up, so the insulin wasn’t staying in her system.”
Colleen said her mother Kaye promised never to leave her sister’s side. And she didn’t for almost four decades, until Kaye’s death in 2008.
“My mom stayed there the whole time,” O’Bara said. “She never let us see how hard it was for her.”
Edwarda and Kaye O’Bara’s story inspired a book title, “A Promise is a Promise” by Dr. Wayne D. Dyer.
In 2008, when their mother died, Colleen O’Bara decided to take that promise on as her own.
“It’s my sister,” she said. “It’s just what you do.”
Colleen cared for Edwarda at their Miami Gardens home for more than four years, never getting more than an hour and a half of sleep at a time.
“(I) fed her every two hours and turned her every three hours,” O’Bara said. “That’s why she never had a bedsore in 43 years.”
On the day before Thanksgiving, Colleen’s beloved sister passed away.
Colleen said she believes her sister is in Heaven with their parents, and she’s counting on her faith to help her get through life without Edwarda.
“How am I going to do it? I don’t know,” Colleen said. “All I can count on is Him showing me the way.”
Colleen quit her job, maxed out her credit cards, and took out a mortgage on her home to care for her sister.
She has relied on donations in the past, and will need funds to pay for her sister’s funeral.
Donations can be sent to the Edwarda O’Bara Fund, P.O. Box 693482 Miami, Fla. 33269.
Another way to help the family is to contact Neighbors4Neighbors.org or call (305) 597-4404.
A memorial is scheduled for Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Memorial Plan Southern Memorial Park. A church service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Miami Shores.
The O’Bara family hosted a birthday party for Edwarda every year in March. Her sister plans to have one more next March to celebrate her sister’s life.