BISMARCK, N.D. — The obituary of a 12-year-old North Dakota girl who committed suicide has gone viral as it addresses the monumental impact of bullying.
The family of 12-year-old Cherish “Chance” Houle says she took her own life last Saturday, March 31. Her family describes her as an uplifting person who was always concerned for the well-being of those around her.
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"She always had a smile on her face and loved nothing more than to make people laugh," they wrote.
Her mother said she noticed a difference lately in the 7th-grader, who had recently changed her name to Chance, according to WDAY-TV. The 12-year-old was struggling as a victim of bullying and those who loved her didn’t know how unbearable that pain had become for her.
Eastgate Funeral and Cremation Service in Bismarck posted a detailed obituary that describes the bullying she faced:
"Cherish experienced intense pain most people her age will never know. Throughout the last 6 months of her life, she experienced continual transition and intense bullying at school. While the news is currently highlighting violence as the result of bullying. Cherish’s support systems saw a very different result. Those who loved Cherish didn’t know how unbearable that pain she was experiencing had become for her. The support and love she was able to receive from those around her wasn’t enough to heal the scars of the relentless bullying she had already suffered. Cherish didn’t harm others or turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with her pain, she took her life on March 31st, 2018.
The word bullying doesn’t begin to encompass ugliness and pain it causes. The ugly truth of bullying is someone who loved Cherish had to open the bedroom door and see what they saw on Saturday. The ugly truth of bullying is those who loved Cherish can’t close their eyes at night because they can’t get the image out of their head. The ugly truth of bullying is doing CPR for 4 minutes and 26 seconds. It’s listening to 911 operator tell you to go faster and push harder. It’s knowing that you didn’t open the door early enough for it to matter anyway. It’s that Cherish isn’t here anymore.
The Houle/Chiefstick family lost a beautiful member of their family. Cherish was a beautiful soul who no longer has to suffer pain and rejection here on Earth.
Cherish’s family and support systems want the public to be aware of her situation in hopes that it will prevent tragedies such as this from occurring again. They are asking that parents talk to their children and find out answers to hard question. Are they being bullied? Are they the bully? Have they witnessed bullying and it broke their heart, but they were glad they weren’t the target today? Did they not know what to do and walked away? Or joined in the laughter because they didn’t want to attract the attention of other bullies in the crowd. We are asking you to teach your children that our words are our most powerful resource and we need to be careful to use that precious resource to positively affect people. Teach your children what to do if someone they know is talking about suicide. Teach them who to call for help."
At the end of the obituary, the family wrote, "To those of you who were kind to Cherish, thank you. Your love and acceptance meant the world to her. To Cherish, thank you for coming into all our lives. We are all much better for it. Fly high and carry our love forever. You will be greatly missed."