Bindi Irwin lost her father at a young age, and is opening up about going through the grieving process at only 8 years old. Irwin’s father Steve, the Crocodile Hunter, was killed after being attacked by a stingray in Australia back in 2006.
Bindi, who will be 16 on July 24, said it has been a journey to find herself in the struggle of losing her dad in the public eye.
“I remember after we lost Dad, so many adults came up to me and said, ‘Honey, time heals all wounds,'” she told People. “That is the biggest lie you will ever hear. It doesn’t. That kind of sadness never goes away.”
Irwin has found her mission now in continuing her father’s legacy, and she does that by continuing the wildlife conservation efforts that her father was so passionate about. She still lives with her mother Terri Irwin and 10-year-old brother Robert in the home they shared with their father — which is on the grounds of their Australian zoo.
Bindi Irwin has not only used her name to film nature TV specials, but she also just signed on as a youth ambassador for SeaWorld. Her father’s death has given her a path in life, and she is using her grief to help conservation efforts across the world.
“When you lose a loved one, you come to these crossroads. You can take the path that leads you down the aisle of sadness, or you can say, ‘I’m never going to let this person’s memory die,'” Bindi said. “‘I’m going to make sure everything they worked for continues.’
“Every day is a new journey for me, and I feel like in my lifetime, I’ve been blessed to experience such a lot.”
Bindi Irwin appears on the cover of People magazine for their Aug. 4 issue.