When Kaitlin Bohlander’s brother was killed in an accident in 2016, Kaitlin was overwhelmed with grief. She says her grief often came across as forgetfulness.
“I remember I was printing some pictures for the wake and I was looking for my debit card. I could not remember how to use it,” says Kaitlin. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want anyone to know I’m grieving, but I want them to understand why I’m acting so strange.’ And then you think, ‘how can anyone not know what’s going on?’”
Her grief gave Katilin an idea; she designed “grief pins” for people to wear as long as they need. The pins are simple: a light blue pin that says simply “Be gentle with me; I am grieving.” Kaitlin received Thrivent Action Team Funding, which she then matched with her own money, to print the pins. She has printed 300 pins so far.
“They are free. I encourage people who are grieving to pick one up and wear it as long as they need. When you’re done, I’d ask that you pass it on to someone else who can use it, or return it to where you got it so someoneelse can use it.”
Kaitlin stresses the pins are not intended to be a conversation starter; rather, they are a social signifier to alert people to be a little extra patient and compassionate.
Grief pins are available in Bismarck at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and at Eastgate Funeral Home. To learn more, contact Katilin at 701-214-3922.