A 13-year-old girl died last Wednesday after losing her battle with cancer, but leaves behind a stunning message for her family.
Athena Orchard had secretly written a 3,000-word message on the back of her bedroom mirror for her parents and siblings to find, the Daily Mail reported.
The discovery was made when her parents, Dean and Caroline Orchard, were sorting through her belongings. The lengthy message was written in marker on the back of their daughter’s full-length mirror.
In it, Athena gives them advice to live by and shows her brave positive attitude, writing: “Every day is special, so make the most of it. You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad.”
Concerns were raised about Athena’s health after she collapsed at her home just before Christmas last year and was later diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
In the following months, she underwent chemotherapy to target the cancer in her spine, shoulder and head.
She needed a 7 1/2 hour operation to remove the tumor on her spine.
Athena lost her hair and much of her physical strength, but her positive outlook on life never wavered. She wrote: “Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
Her father, Dean Orchard, 33, started reading the message after he found it, but broke down in tears and couldn’t finish.
"It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it,” he told the Leicester Mercury.
"She never mentioned it, but it's the kind of thing she'd do. She was a very spiritual person, she'd go on about stuff that I could never understand – she was so clever,” Dean said.
"When I moved the mirror after she died I couldn't believe it, I saw all this writing, it must have been about 3,000 words,” he said. “It's so touching. When I first saw it, it just blew me away. I started reading it but before long I had to stop because it was too much. It was heartbreaking.”
Athena, who leaves behind six sisters and three brothers, wrote: “I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.
"Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it's about who you can't see spending your life without. Life is a game for everyone but love is the only prize.”
Excerpts from Athena’s message:
“Happiness depends upon ourselves."
“Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story."
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose."
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."
"Happiness is a direction not a destination."
“Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young."
“Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change."
“Every day is special, so make the most of it. You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day."