"She was an awesome person, and an awesome mother," Curtis Brubaker, Jr. tells PEOPLE of his late sister

By Rose Minutaglio
Updated August 01, 2016 04:50 PM
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Credit: Courtey Curtis Brubaker, Jr

The brother of an Ellicott City, Maryland, flood victim says his sister’s last words before she was swept away by the catastrophic flooding over the weekend were: “My God help us! God, help us!”

Jessica Watsula, a 35-year-old mother, was killed when her car became completely flooded with water on Main Street in the Baltimore suburb. She was headed home from a “painting and dinner” night-outing with her extended family.

“I loved my sister so much, she will be so missed,” Jessica’s brother, Curtis Brubaker, Jr., tells PEOPLE. “She was an awesome person, and an awesome mother.”

Jessica is survived be her 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, who was her “best friend.” The mother and daughter spent “every waking moment together.”

“They shared an extremely strong bond, where one was, the other was there and they did everything together,” Curtis says. “She was such a good mother, she did everything for Sarah.”

Jessica worked as an assistant manager at a shoe retailer in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where she lived with Sarah. She was visiting her brother’s mother-in-law and sisters-in-law for the evening when the flooding began.

“They headed to the car, it was raining, when they walked to the street, there was only two inches of water on the ground,” explains Curtis. “Within seconds, the water was up to the windows and doors and the car drifted down the road.”

He adds, “They escaped from the car and jumped out and grabbed a telephone pole, but Jessica drifted.”

Jessica’s body was discovered around 2:20 a.m. on Sunday on the banks of the Patapsco River.

The grieving brother says Jessica’s entire life was devoted to her young daughter.

“Jess essentially chose a career in retail where she would have time to care of her daughter,” says Curtis. “They loved spending time with each other. They went hiking and they absolutely adored anything having to do with mermaids. It was their thing! They were obsessed with mermaids ever since they watched The Little Mermaid.

Curtis says he’ll always remember his sister’s love for camping with Sarah.

“She would get firewood and set up a campfire in her backyard and sit there and roast marshmallows. She loved sitting around the fire and feeling the warmth of it. They would sit there for hours together,” he recalls.

Sarah is “holding up okay” with help from her father – Jessica’s ex-husband – whom she’s been staying with since her mother’s death, says Curtis.

“Sarah’s got her whole life ahead of her,” Curtis adds. “But unfortunately she has to live life without her best friend.”