After Athena Orchard, a spirited young girl from Leicester, England, discovered a lump on her head before Christmas, she chose to ignore it, focusing instead on caring for her six sisters and three brothers and pursuing her passion for boxing. However, her health took a drastic turn when she lost consciousness in the kitchen shortly after. Doctors delivered a devastating blow: bone cancer.

Despite undergoing a grueling seven-hour surgery to remove the tumor from her spinal column and enduring rounds of chemotherapy that caused her to lose all her hair, Athena remained remarkably cheerful. Her strength waned as the aggressive cancer took its toll, but she continued to encourage her loved ones not to cry.

Her mother, Caroline, fondly remembers Athena’s unwavering positivity amid the turmoil. “She always remained cheerful and told me not to cry,” Caroline recalls. “We knew her cancer was very aggressive, and… she fought as best as she could.”

A few days after her thirteenth birthday, Athena passed away, leaving behind her grieving family. As her father began the somber task of gathering her belongings, he made a poignant discovery. Behind the mirror on her wall, he found a message etched in nearly 3,000 words by his beloved daughter.

Dan, Athena’s father, was astonished and deeply moved by the heartfelt message. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “There were nearly 3,000 words. It struck me deeply. I started reading word by word, but then I had to stop—it was too heartbreaking.”

Athena’s handwritten farewell message was a testament to her wisdom and love. Here are some of the quotes from her message:

“Happiness hinges on our perspective. It’s not just about a happy ending; it’s about the entire journey. Life’s purpose lies in living with intention. The distinction between ordinary and extraordinary lies in that little ‘extra.’ Happiness isn’t a destination; it’s the path we walk. I’m grateful for your presence. Embrace happiness, embrace freedom, believe in yourself, and maintain your youthfulness. You may know my name, but not my story. You may know my actions, but not my struggles. Love is fragile like glass—beautiful yet fragile. Every day holds significance; seize each moment. Tomorrow is uncertain; embrace today, as life can change in an instant.

“Life is only as bleak as we make it. Love is rare, life is unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, and people evolve. Life is a game with many players, but love is its ultimate prize. If someone truly loves you, they’ll never let you go, no matter the circumstances. Remember, life is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Without the lows, the highs lose their meaning.”

“I yearn to find someone with whom I can bare my soul. Love isn’t about planning a future together; it’s about being unable to envision life without them. There’s no need for tears; I know I’ll always be by your side.”

“It’s hard to comprehend how she summoned the courage to pen such words,” her father remarked. “She never spoke of this note, yet it resonates so deeply with her essence. Athena possessed a profound depth and found solace in writing—it was intrinsic to her being and brought her immense joy.”

Though Athena has departed from this world, she has immortalized herself through her poignant words. “This mirror will forever grace our home. Reading her words, we sense her enduring presence.” Despite her illness, Athena maintained an unwavering ability to find beauty in life. Her positivity radiated through every thought she etched onto the back of her mirror.