This is Athena Orchard, a vibrant, loving girl who was just beginning to experience and understand what life truly is. At Christmas time in 2013, she collapsed in her home and was rushed to the hospital. She admitted that she had noticed a strange bump on her head earlier that year but didn’t think anything of it. It turned out that this sweet young girl was afflicted with bone cancer.
Doctors told her family that the only hope for her survival was the most intense rounds of chemotherapy available and the removal of a massive tumor from her spine. The treatments were difficult, the surgery painful, but Athena never gave up hope, and her family continued to hope for her recovery.
Unfortunately, at the end of May, just 5 months after being diagnosed, she passed away in her home. Her parents were devastated, struggling to understand why their little angel have been taking from them so suddenly. Athena left 6 sisters and 3 brothers behind, but not before leaving this for her family to find…
On the back of her large mirror, Athena had written snippets of what life meant to her. She hadn’t told anyone about the lengthy “last words,” but her parents weren’t shocked to find that Athena had left this behind for her family to discover. “She was always trying to make sure other people were okay before worrying about herself.”
The words that she left behind are incredible, and it proves that she was an incredible person who spent a lot of time in deep contemplation. While her time on Earth was short, she had learned more about life than most people ever will. Her time with her family was not wasted, and while she may have some regrets, the majority of her message is filled with so much love and compassion that it is fairly overwhelming.
Some of her most notable words of wisdom are below. Take a minute to reflect on what this 12-year-old girl wanted us all to read in her absence.
“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.”
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