It’s an unfortunate fact of life that some people get more time than others. Death is difficult to deal with regardless of when it happens to a person, but the death of a teenager is particularly difficult to accept because they had their whole life in front of them.
Being diagnosed with a terminal illness at a young age forces children into contemplating their own mortality in a way that most adults have not. While such diagnoses have the potential to crush a person, one 13-year-old faced her’s with remarkable bravery.
The girl in question, Athena Orchard, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer when she was 12 years old. Despite attempts to save her life, the disease became terminal, and although it took away her physical strength, it could not shake her positive attitude.
Prior to her passing in May 2014, Athena decided to leave a message behind for her family and wrote an incredible 3,000 words on the back of her bedroom mirror. Her parents discovered it when they were faced with the tragic task of emptying her bedroom after her death.
Her father Dean said of the message, “I started reading it, but before long, I had to stop because it was too much. It was heartbreaking.”
The video below details how this inspirational and heartbreaking story unfolded:
Athena’s father said that he had no idea she had left behind something so incredible, but added, “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.”
This is an excerpt 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. 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.
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… Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.
Sometimes love hurts. Now I’m fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it’s okay, I’m used to it. Don’t be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don’t know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.
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.”
Athena’s message is a testament to the fact that regardless of how much darkness a person faces in life, a positive attitude can shine through it all. Hopefully, Athena’s words comforted not only her parents but have inspired everyone who has read them.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Athena’s family all the best recovering from their loss.