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.”