Kaitlin Marie Bergan
Memphis Fire Department
Date of Death: April 27, 2022
Years of Service: 5
Duty Status: Active
Tonight, we are honoring the service of Firefighter/Medic Kaitlin Marie Bergan. She died by suicide on April 27, 2022, after 5 years of service. Tonight, this is a different kind of honor post, and her family needs you to hear so much more than I can tell you.
You see, we send out a care package and blanket after we learn of a suicide, Kaitlin’s family, like many others responded with a thank you card. But it was different. It was a large, padded envelope filled with photos of Kaitlin throughout her life, funeral mementos, and a detailed letter about Kaitlin’s life. My instinct is to put such details aside as they are a reflection of the pain the family is suffering, but we owe it to them to read it. It was beautiful. Kaitlin was beautiful. At the age of 7, seeing the Twin Towers fall, Kaitlin declared that she would spend her life helping people. She held fast to that pledge.
She was the sister to two amazing brothers and a kind, exuberant daughter with a passion for life. After having two boys, her parents never expected a girl and were overjoyed with the news. As the youngest child in a family with a child who had physical issues that needed attention, Kaitlin thrived and learned compassion. She excelled in everything she did – music, theater, drama, debate – she was just one of those kids. She loved rock climbing and hiking.
When she became a lifeguard she said, “Mom, I am finally on my way to saving lives.” Around the same time, her dog became ill, and Kaitlin asked if she could sit in on the surgery to watch. She did. She loved it and “she was itching to head to med school, there was no other choice in her mind”. She started school but felt it wasn’t enough. “I want to be in an ambulance. Remember Mom, you said I can do anything I set my mind to.” So, she did.
And then she met the love of her life, Jason Lang. Jason was a volunteer firefighter in Iowa and when Kaitlin decided to move to Memphis, he went with her. They were a beautiful couple who fell in love, got engaged, and planned to save lives together, both with a passion for good and enormous hearts. Sadly, Jason was killed while assisting at the scene of an accident on his way to his last class to become a certified EMT.
Kaitlin spent the next 4 weeks finishing her classes, was training to work in the Special Ops Station, and continued to excel at everything she did. “Losing Jason would prove to be too much for her, as you know, this is where her story would end.” Kaitlin took her life 2 months after Jason lost his.
Kaitlin’s spirit, like all those we lose, can never be adequately captured on paper. I’d like to thank her parents for sharing so much of Kaitlin with us, so much love and beauty. Thank you for reminding all of us that we can never share enough of the people we lose. We never want them forgotten and they were so much more than how they died.