The Bismarck Tribune's website currently features stories about oil drilling and bomb threats, including one at the Walmart in that city.
But the most widely read story on the newspaper's website is an obituary. It's for Cherish Houle, a 12-year-old who killed herself on the last day in March, after what her family calls "intense bullying at school."
The family did not spare readers of the details of Houle's story, and hopes sharing the "ugly truth" of what happened to Houle might "prevent tragedies such as this from happening again."
Houle, a seventh-grader, "loved to draw and listen to music," the obituary says, and was "very close to her family." Those who met Houle with "love and acceptance," or merely kindness, are thanked. Apparently there were too few of them, and too many who offered the opposite -- or didn't do enough to stop it.
Read Houle's obituary below.
Cherish “Chance” Houle, 12, Bismarck, died March 31, 2018.
Cherish “Chance” was born on July 17, 2005, in Minot, ND, to Nathan Houle and Jessica Chiefstick. She grew up in Minot and began attending school there. In 2009, Cherish and her family moved to Bismarck where she continued her education in Bismarck. Most recently, she was attending the 7th grade in Bismarck.
Cherish was an uplifting person to be around, always concerned for the well-being of those around her. She always had a smile on her face and loved nothing more than to make people laugh. Cherish was very close to her family and enjoyed talking to people about her siblings and parents and loved them deeply. She loved to draw and listen to music.
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.
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.
She is survived by her mom, Jessica; her dad, Nathan; siblings, Santana, Sonte, Maliyah, Nathan Jr., and Yuri; her grandmas, Marina Cheifstick and Judy Nelson; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her grandpas, Leon Houle and Noble Mooseamen; her aunts, Deena and Kristen; and her uncle, Leslie.
Visitation will be held Thursday, April 5, 2018, from 10am-12 Noon at Eastgate Funeral Service, 2302 E Divide Ave., in Bismarck, ND.