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Family Discovers Powerful Secret Message Left by the Daughter they Lost to Cancer

12-year-old who died of cancer leaves hidden message of hope for family

After months of battling a deadly cancer, 12-year-old Athena Orchard finally passed away on May 28. In the days since her death, her grieving family has been unbelievably heartsick; but this week, they discovered something she left behind that has restored their faith and lifted their spirits. Her mother has since called her "an inspiration to everyone."

Unbeknownst to anyone, Athena had taken down her bedroom mirror, flipped it over, and written a powerfully moving message against the back of it. The words are strong, heartfelt, and well beyond what you'd expect to read from a 12-year-old. But that doesn't really surprise her dad in the least, who told Leicester Mercury, "She never mentioned [the note], but it's just the kind of thing she'd do."

Below is the full message penned by Athena, who says so many things we need to write across our own mirrors/tattoo to our foreheads to remember every day. It's the most powerfully raw beautiful thing you'll read all week:

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.

Crying yet? So are we. How is it that at just 12 years old, this young girl could know so much more about life, love, and happiness than some people three times her age?

Simply touching.

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