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Athena Orchard's 3,000-word message: Dying teen wrote secret note for family

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Athena Orchard, 13, died of cancer just a few days ago, but she left something quite surprising behind for her family. Orchard wrote a message on the back of her bedroom mirror, but it wasn't just any casual note. People shared the details on Thursday.

The teen from Leicester, England wrote a 3,000-word note on the back of her mirror. Athena Orchard also left behind a box of songs she had written. Her family had no idea she had written the note, and her father found it after she passed on May 28.

Athena's mother says that they will be keeping the mirror for forever, and it is clear it left quite an impact on her family. Her mother Caroline shares, “Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit.” The teen, who had a bone cancer called osteosarcoma that had affected her head, left shoulder and spine, left behind her parents and nine siblings.

Ms. Orchard's words are truly ones others should take to heart. She said, in part, “Life is only bad if you make it bad,” and “Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it's not about the happy ending, maybe it's about the story.” The teen clearly was a passionate soul with a gift for writing, and it is a shame the world won't have the opportunity to see more from her.

ABC News shares that Athena Orchard's cancer was discovered just a few months ago in December 2013. She collapsed in the family's kitchen just before Christmas, and then she went through a lengthy surgery as well as chemotherapy. Unfortunately it didn't take long before she was too weak to leave her bed. Her family says that she'd never mentioned the note on the mirror, but secretly working on it and leaving it behind for her family to find is exactly the kind of thing she would do.

While the teen's family is, of course, heartbroken over her passing, it is clear they will cherish the message she took the time to leave behind for them. Her family describes her as clever, spiritual, bright and strong. Athena Orchard certainly made quite the impact with her short life, and many are inspired by the words she took the time to leave behind.

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