13-year-old girl who died of cancer left a secret message behind her bedroom mirror
On May 28 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard passed away. The teenager, from Leicester, England, had been suffering from bone cancer, and died in her father's arms.
As you can imagine, this was a heartbreaking thing for the whole family to go through, especially the parents. In the days following her death, her father Dean had the hard task of going through her belongings, but he discovered something he never expected to: a secret message written on the back of a full-length mirror.
After removing Athena's mirror from the wall, he found an eloquent 3,000-word letter written on the back in black pen.
"She never mentioned it, but it's the kind of thing she'd do," the father told People magazine. "She was a very spiritual person, she'd go on about stuff that I could never understand - she was so clever."
In the letter, Athena wrote that "every day is special" and instructed whoever was reading to make the most of each day they have in this world. "Life is only bad if you make it bad," she added in her final message.
Despite only being 13-years-old, Athena had some wise words that we could all learn from. In the message 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. Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young.
"Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!
"Love is not about how much you say I love you – it’s about how much you can prove it’s true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can’t see it. 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.
"This is my life, not yours, don’t worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that’s what makes you… you!
"There’s no need to cry because I know you'll be by my side.”
The family were overwhelmed after they found this message, not knowing exactly when it was written, but feeling as if they had contact with Athena one more time.
"We're keeping the mirror forever, it is a part of her we can keep in the house it will always e in her room," Athena's mother Caroline said. "Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit."
She couldn't have known how long it would take before someone found her secret message, but there's no doubt that it has had a huge impact on her family and everyone who has had a chance to read it.