Well, I've never gotten a perm, but I've never heard of one that lasted for two years, either! Sounds like you were a curly waiting to happen.
Congrats on you and your daughter's new curls! You might want to experiment with scrunching and different gels and maybe diffuser attachments for your dryer. And maybe you want to get adventurous and even try the Curly Girl method (CG), washing your hair with a light conditioner to cleanse your hair lightly and not strip away its natural oils!
There's even sulfate-free shampoo options if you want to do a modified method. This site has a wealth of information, and there's tons of techniques in the techniques links to help enhance your natural curls.
I am very sorry about your sister passing, BTW.