In March 2008, at the age of 80, Kaythryn was found dead on the floor in her daughter's room. She'd cared for Edwarda for nearly four decades. Mom had kept her promise.
Kathryn had worried what would happen if she died first. She wasn't sure whether Colleen could handle the stress of caring for Edwarda. "She can't understand why God did this," Kathryn once said of her younger daughter.
Mom had wondered: Could Colleen stand up to the task?
'A hole in my heart'
Colleen tried to live as normal a life as possible. Yet she couldn't shake her devastation.
Her sister -- her best friend -- lay in a coma. Her father was taken from her when she was 21. Dad had become her confidant. "I always had my dad to fall back on when my mom was tied up with my sister," she says.
It would be too much to bear for most anyone, let alone a young woman trying to find meaning.
She married in 1974, with the reception held in Edwarda's room. She gave birth to a son, Richard, in 1976, just eight days after her father died. Colleen's marriage lasted only six years.
The divorce was yet another bad blow. She and her son moved in with her mother, and her boy became a fixture alongside Edwarda.
"My marriage fell apart and I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere," she says. "That's when I ventured into drugs. I was just trying to belong somewhere."
Her troubles spiraled further. She was arrested on an array of drug offenses in the early 1990s. She was sentenced to nine months in prison at the Broward Correctional Institutional.
Being locked up, she had an epiphany: If something happened to her mother while she was behind bars, Edwarda would have no one to care for her -- all because of her selfishness.
"I went to prison and turned my life around," she says. "I knew where I belonged."
She took a job as a horse trainer, not too far from the family home. Many days she wished she could put Edwarda in her car and take her to the stables.
When their mother died, Colleen immediately quit her job. She suffered from multiple sclerosis but quickly figured out a way to manage her sister's needs.
"My mom worried I wouldn't be able to do it," she says. "But when you love somebody, you can do it. That's what you do for family."
And so she tended to her sister, day and night, for five years until that morning this past November.
"When I was down in the dumps, she would give me a big smile and it would just make everything seem like it was OK," Colleen says. "I talked to her just like I would talk to you."
She still rises before the sun, expecting to feed her sister. Then, her loss sinks in.
"I knew I loved my sister, but until she was no longer physically here I didn't realize how much I would ache," she says. "I feel a hole in my stomach, a hole in my heart."
In a quiet ceremony on November 28, Edwarda was buried next to her mother and father. Colleen was never sure what to make of her mother's visions of Mother Mary. Colleen had never seen the visions herself.
When she returned to the empty home after the funeral, Colleen walked into Edwarda's room.
There on the screen, she says, was an image of Mother Mary. "Not sitting on my TV, but on my actual TV screen."
It lasted for six seconds, then disappeared.