A 12-year-old’s incredible words of wisdom from beyond the grave

12-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England died last Wednesday after battle with cancer. In December, doctors found a cancerous tumor on the girl’s spine. In the aftermath of her death, Orchard’s family began going through the her belongings when her father came across something truly remarkable – a message penned on the back of her bedroom mirror.

“It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it,” the girl’s father, Dean Orchard, 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,” he continued. ”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. It’s so touching. When I first saw it, it just blew me away.”

Athena was one of six children, and her grieving mother, Caroline Orchard, described her late daughter as “the bravest person I know.”

The Daily Mail tweeted a photo of message on the mirror, which sagely begins: “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

Below are a few excerpts from the mirror:

“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.

“You know my name, not my story.

“You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through.

“Love is like glass, looks so lovely, but it’s easy to shatter.

“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.

“Life is only bad if you make it bad.

“If someone loves you then they wouldn’t let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is.

“Remember that life is full of ups and downs, without the downs the ups don’t mean anything.

“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.”

  • vivalapresley


  • Michelle Ziegenhagen

    Looks like a lot of effort to gather some really great quotes. Advice to live by.

  • chip griffin

    wise beyond her years, now she has forever to show those around her. the truth is no one dies, we only move on to another place. not another place with the same people, but another place where only the wise can live! the few who make it studied this thing called life. the prize was not stuff but love. only those willing to love move up, the rest fall down…

  • SickOf BeingCoddled

    Heartbreaking??? NO–Uplifting, inspiring, hopeful, wise, empowering, joyful, precious, and priceless.

  • Weston

    These are some great aphorisms for life.

  • Lori Buchanan

    What an Amazing young Girl she was…. Wise beyond her years on Earth ♥ RIP little Angel girl ♥

    • don ellsworth

      she is now in a world free of our badness—she is in the hands of god

  • Anonymous

    “Allow the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of Heaven!”

  • Sandy Buchanan

    Beautiful wisdom – this will always give her family comfort and strength.

  • don ellsworth

    another one of gods wonders an in a 12 year old

  • http://www.de-navarro.com dnav

    It’s as if she knew her time on earth would be short.

  • Anonymous

    A list of epiphanies realized by a very wise young lady. A gift left behind by someone with an acute sense of the preciousness of life. She found the important things in life in a very short time. Amazing.

  • Obie Wan

    12 yrs old? Lord I don’t even have this kind of wisdom and insight now, and I’m over five times that age !!!

  • Barnara Apon


  • Jenn


  • Jack Ryan

    At every opportunity, each of us should take the opportunity to hone our intellectual Excalibur: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Anonymous

    You notice it’s always someone else that makes all that money? If it was soooo great, you would think they would do it themselves!

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