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Obituaries

A labor of love: Family remains at side of woman in coma 42 years until death

A woman who lay in a coma for 42 years died on Wednesday at her Florida home. Edwarda O'Bara was only 16 years old in 1970 when she lapsed into a coma. She fell ill after having a reaction to her diabetes medication. For the next 42 years Edwarda's family would remain by her side, caring for her every need.

In a true testimony of unconditional love, Edwarda's parents Joe and Kaye began the decades-long vigil over their beloved daughter. Each day they fed her, gave her medication, read to her and played music for her. They also made sure that she was turned every two hours as well. Her parents continued this regimen until her father passed away in 1976 and her mother in 2008.

Edwarda's sister Colleen O'Bara then assumed the mantle as her caretaker until her death on Wednesday.

"She taught me so much, and I’m talking about now, after she was in the coma. 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," said Colleen O'Bara in an interview with The Herald.

The family's heart touching devotion to their loved one inspired a 2001 book called, "A Promise Is A Promise: An Almost Unbelievable Story of a Mother’s Unconditional Love and What It Can Teach Us," and a song entitled, "My Blessed Child."

The family's uncompromising love also attracted people from around the world to come and visit their home.

Edwarda O'Bara was 59. A memorial service will be held for her on Tuesday.