When you lose a loved one, it can be tough to think of them as anything other than last forever. Their absence weighs heavily in every room, the sound of their voice still rings in your ears. But one English family found out that gone doesn’t have to mean forgotten.

When a brilliant 13-year-old girl from Leicester, England, suffered a medical catastrophe during the holiday season, her parents lost all hope of being happy again. After inspecting one of her bedroom decorations, however, they couldn’t help but feel an impossible connection to their daughter…

In 2013, just before Christmas, 13-year-old Athena Orchard was abuzz with holiday spirit in Leicester, England. Then, without warning, she collapsed on the kitchen floor.