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Florida woman Edwarda O'Bara dies after 42 years in coma

Miami Herald file

Kaye O'Bara kisses her daughter Edwarda on her birthday March 20, 2005. Kaye O'Bara took care of Edwarda until her own death in 2008.

A woman who lived in a coma for 42 years, meticulously cared for by her family, died Wednesday in her home in Miami Gardens, Fla., the Miami Herald reported.

Edwarda O’Bara was a 16-year-old high school student in 1970 when she became sick from her diabetes medication and slipped into a diabetic coma.

According to the Herald, just before she lost consciousness, Edwarda asked her mother, Kaye O’Bara, to never leave her side, and her family never did.


Edwarda’s father, Joe O’Bara, and Kaye took care of their daughter — reading to her, playing her music, making sure she was turned every two hours, bathed, given insulin and given nourishment through a feeding tube — until their deaths in 1976 and 2008, respectively. After that, Edwarda’s sister Colleen O’Bara took over.

Miami Herald File

Kaye O'Bara talks with her daughter, Edwarda, in March, 1998. At that point, Edwarda had been in a coma for 29 years. Edwarda died Wednesday, outliving her mother by four years.

The family’s story inspired the 2001 book, "A Promise Is A Promise: An Almost Unbelievable Story of a Mother’s Unconditional Love and What It Can Teach Us" and a song called "My Blessed Child," and it prompted people from around the world to travel to her Florida home.

"She taught me so much, and I’m talking about now, after she was in the coma," Colleen O’Bara told the Herald. "She taught me so much about unconditional love that I couldn’t say I had it before. She taught me about patience that I didn’t have before."

In an announcement of Edwarda's death posted Thursday on a website dedicated to her, Colleen O'Bara wrote: "Yesterday while taking care of Edwarda I noticed her looking directly at me and gave me the biggest smile I had ever seen. She then closed her eyes and joined my Mom in Heaven."

Edwarda O’Bara was 59. A memorial is scheduled for Tuesday.

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