cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD 1

Emotions of the Dying

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD, we may be caregiving for a loved one who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or who has a chronic disease that will eventually lead to death. While we – and much of the online and offline literature – tend to focus on how we feel while our loved ones are dying and after they die, we can often forget to consider what our dying loved one may be experiencing emotionally.

Having insight into the emotions of the dying can help us in how we respond to them. After all, we’re not the only ones experiencing loss. In fact, in a sense, we’re experiencing loss vicariously through them because they are the ones who are actually dying and actually losing their lives.

Thinking from that perspective should give us more patience, more mercy, more compassion, and more gentleness in how we deal with our dying loved ones and how we consistently respond to them, even in the times when they may be very agitated or restless and we are exhausted from trying to keep up with them.

One of the emotions that our dying loved ones may be experiencing is fear. Fear of dying is not uncommon, but if we can pinpoint what aspect of dying our loved ones are afraid of, then we might be able to find ways to ease their fear.

Some people are afraid of dying alone. Some people are afraid of dying away from home. Some people are afraid that death will be painful. Some people are afraid of what happens – or doesn’t happen – after death. Some people are afraid that their lives had no meaning or purpose and that they’ll be forgotten after they die.

Another emotion that our dying loved ones may experience is anger. This emotion may be harder for our loved ones to quantify in a way that’s understandable. Sometimes, people just aren’t ready to die. Other times, people feel like they’ve been cheated out of a full life. If our loved ones did things that brought them to the point of dying, they may be angry at themselves.

Whatever the anger is about, it often gets directed at those closest to our loved ones. There may be no way to soothe that anger, but we can minimize it by not responding to it with anger. That’s a lot easier said than done. But anger breeds anger.

If we feel our anger rising in response to our dying loved one’s anger, then it’s good to give ourselves a timeout. Walk away for a little bit. Breathe deeply. Calm down. But most of all, we should not get angry in return nor should we try to reason with it because those things will just escalate the situation.

Other emotions that our loved ones may be experiencing are guilt and regret. It’s normal when we’re facing death to reflect on our lives. In that reflection, we may find opportunities that we lost and regret that we lost them or things that we should have done or said or that we said or did that we feel guilty about.

We can help our loved ones by, if some of their regrets and guilt are about their relationship with us, is to let them know that we’ve forgiven them and we don’t hold anything against them. They may still have unresolved guilt and regrets, but we should do everything in our power to make sure that those are not related to us.

If you want information about cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD

Music Can Comfort the Dying

Before funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, as we’re caring for loved ones who are coming to the end of their lives, it’s important to think about music and its power even when our lives as ebbing away.

Music is an intrinsic part of our lives. We often talk about the soundtrack of our lives. We might hear a song and be instantly transported back in time to a momentous event or place in our lives. Music is an integral part of life’s most important moments: church services, weddings, proms, parties, and funerals, to name a few.

Music has been a part of human history since the beginning. We see in Genesis 4 the first mention of music with Jubal, who was “the father of all those who play the harp and the flute.” But it’s likely that the very first music ever made was with voices and hands.

Music enhances our lives in ways we don’t even realize. It is fairly well established that music can promote physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Recent research has shown that music can often reach people who are suffering from dementia when nothing else can.

Music, therefore, is an important component in the transition from life to death. It can provide peace, comfort, and reassurance not only to our loved ones who are dying but also to us as family members.

Music can help decrease levels of stress, restlessness, pain, and anxiety. It can also help our loved ones who are dying to breathe more slowly and deeply, which has a calming effect on the mind and the body.

Although many of us think of music generically in terms of what we and our loved ones like, there is a specific type of music that has been specifically developed to soothe the dying. Although it probably existed before 1973, it was in that year that Therese Schroeder-Sheker gave the method in which this kind of music was played: music thanatology.

It was specifically designed as music to be played on the harp accompanied by singing and is referred to as prescriptive music. Musicians who play prescriptive music are specially trained to use the harp and their voice to modulate in response to the dying person’s changing physiology.

Music therapists can also be used to provide music for people who are dying. Music therapy is designed to decrease physical and mental/emotional pain, but it very much requires that the dying person still be alert and actively participate as much as they are able in the music, including singing along or playing along with another instrument.

One of the newest types of music for the dying is the Threshold Choir. The idea was launched by Kate Munger in 2000 and now has 200 groups around the world participating. These choirs are small, consisting of three or four people at the most, and they gather around the dying person to sing from a selection of 400 approved Threshold songs that focus on care, love, letting go, and going home.

However, all we really need for our loved ones who are dying is the music of their lives. Include the songs they always sang, the ones they loved, the ones that always mattered. Play them soft and low, but loud enough that our loved ones can be comforted by them.

If you’d like to know about funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD

Why Some Deaths Are Not Peaceful

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, most people, if they don’t die suddenly or unexpectedly, who are dying go through a process physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For some people, the process is very peaceful as they come to the end of their lives. However, for other people, the process is not peaceful

There are many reasons why a death may not be peaceful. Much of this has to do with not actually preparing for death and having it as unfinished business.

One reason why a death may not be peaceful is that the person hasn’t thought about their life ending. Because we live in a society where death is a subject that many people studiously avoid talking about, there are people who live their entire lives without ever having the conscious realization that they will die.

Therefore, when these people get the news that they have a terminal illness or that death is approaching, it’s shocking. They are unable to quite grasp that their time is finite and it will be over soon.

With the knowledge that death is approaching, more questions than answers arise. Since these people haven’t thought about dying, they also haven’t thought about what they want in terms of care at the end of their lives and they haven’t thought about the final note to their lives, which is their funerals.

The stress and anxiety of a terminal illness can make it a lot more difficult to make clear, thoughtful, and logical decisions about end-of-life care and funeral wishes. This leads to a lack of peace.

Another reason why people might not have peaceful deaths is because they haven’t talked to their loved ones about their deaths. They may not have advance care directives in place and they may not have wills or revocable trusts to direct how their estates should be distributed and to whom they should be distributed.

Additionally, there is often unfinished business in close relationships that can lead to a lack of peace at the end of life. There may be rifts that the dying person wants to mend and they may not have time or the person they want to mend them with has no interest in reconciling.

There may be misunderstandings and hard feelings that need to be addressed and resolved and there may be no way or no time to do that when someone receives a terminal diagnosis. There may also be amends that the dying person wants to make with people who matter to them and it may be impossible to do that.

All of these can make dying an unpeaceful process.

Some people just live unhappy lives. If a person has lived unhappily, they will die unhappily. People who have been unhappy all their lives have never learned to accept life as it comes and make the best of it. Instead, they’ve felt that life has been unfair to them or they’ve gotten the short end of the stick from life, and they’ve been unhappy because of that. This can lead to unpeaceful death.

A final reason why people may not experience a peaceful death is that they’ve held on to resentments against other people or they’ve held on to regrets about things that have come and gone and can’t be changed. In short, they’ve not known how to forgive and to get and move on emotionally, which can make dying a very unpeaceful experience.

If you want information about cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD

Physicians and End-of-Life Conversations

Before funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you may know that you should do advance care planning to make sure your medical wishes are known, that you have a medical power of attorney in place, and that you have a living will in place.

You know that one day you will die. You could be in an accident and die suddenly. Or you could be diagnosed with a terminal illness. Or you could simply die of old age. Regardless, death will come.

Even though you know you should prepare for its inevitability, you may feel like it’s too morbid to think about, talk about, or do anything about. You may think that if you do advance care planning that it’s opening your front door for death to walk in.

While these tend to be how many of us look at advance care planning, we would like to think that physicians – who deal with life and death every day – would be more assertive and more willing to talk with us, their patients, about it.

The reality is, though, that physicians are just as reluctant to discuss advance care planning with their patients – even the patients they suspect or know will be dead within a year.

Why?

One reason is because of the goal of American health care, which is to prolong life. If you’re busy working to prolong lives, then there’s no need to talk about the possibility of the end of life and how that should look. Some doctors have the same fear that their patients do: if they bring up the subject of advance care planning, then their patients will think they’ve given up on them and they know something about their health that they are keeping from their patients.

Because medicine in the United States is focused on keeping people alive for as long as is possible, instruction about how to have advance care planning conversations with patients is not a part of medical school curriculum, nor is it a part of residency programs, where medical students are interacting directly with patients under the guidance and training of doctors and surgeons.

Another reason that many physicians don’t have advance care planning discussions is because they simply don’t have the time. As medicine in America has moved toward the corporate for-profit model, so has its billing model. Time is money.

Much like other professions, such as law and accounting, that use a billing-for-time structure, medicine has now become attached to the clock instead attached to the patient and the patient’s needs. Most physicians have about 15 minutes to spend with each patient. Much of their compensation is tied to how many patients they can see per day and how much of their time can be billed to insurance companies and Medicaid and Medicare.

Fifteen minutes is not enough time to have advance care planning conversations with patients. A physician would have only enough time to bring the subject up and then move on to the next patient. Physicians understand the worry and the anxiety this would give their patients (i.e., “Why did my doctor want to talk about that? Have I got some kind of terminal illness? Am I dying?” would be the logical reaction), so they simply don’t mention it at all.

Advance care planning is important, however, because it gives you control over how you want your life managed medically at the end of your life. It lets you specify how you want the end of your life to look, from a medical standpoint. And it gives you control over how you want your funeral to be.

If you’d like to know about funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

cremation services offered in Beltsville, MD

Death Cleaning: A Gift You Leave Behind

Imagine this. After your cremation, part of the cremation services offered in Beltsville, MD, your family goes to your home to begin the process of taking care of the final details that need to be attended to after your death.

This was the home you and your spouse settled into as a final destination and where your children spent their formative years until they left the nest for college and then careers that took them all over the country or the world. This was the home where the entire immediate family, and often extended family as well, gathered for milestone events and for holidays.

Overall the time you lived there, you accumulated stuff. Some of this stuff has monetary value, has sentimental value, or is heirlooms that your family will want to keep. But the odds are good that much of the stuff in your home could have been thrown away or given away before you died.

Now your family has the task of deciding what should stay and what should go and then actually getting rid of the stuff that goes. They have a lot of work ahead of them, and that work may be accompanied by dilemmas and unnecessary stress as they go through the process of decluttering your home.

Now come back to the present, to this moment right now while you’re still alive. Is this the ideal scenario that you imagine for your family after you die? If it’s not, and for most of us, it isn’t, then now is the time to start doing something about it.

Before you go into overdrive and start throwing or giving everything away in a decluttering spread, you need to make a smart plan that takes into account the things in your home that you or your family may want to or should keep.

If you have family members close by, enlist their help in going from room to room to make an inventory and to decide what should be and shouldn’t be kept. If none of your immediate family lives close enough to help with this project, then enlist the help of a close friend.

You may find things that you don’t personally want to keep, but maybe something that one of your family members might want. This is a good way to start talking with your family about your own end-of-life planning. For those items, let your family know what you’re doing and give them the opportunity to get those things.

Be sure, however, to put a reasonable time limit – perhaps the next time they plan to visit – on how long you will keep it for them, and let them know that you will give or throw it away once that time limit has been reached.

If you have things that you have already decided to leave for certain family members, go ahead and give those things to those family members while you are alive. This will make it easier on the executor of your will or the trustee for your revocable trust, in terms of distributing inheritance items, after you die. It can also eliminate a lot of conflict among your family over stuff.

Once you know what you need to get rid of, then, on a room-by-room basis, gather together what will be thrown away and what will be given away (many charities will pick all these items up, so you don’t need to take them anywhere).

For things that you have to take somewhere to donate or that are being thrown away, you can easily set a goal of one garbage bag of each a week from one room at a time. In the course of a year, you could easily give or throw away 104 bags of clutter and have your decluttering completed.

If you want more information about cremation services offered in Beltsville, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

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When to Begin to Plan Your Funeral

If we’re not thinking about planning funerals at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, we should be. It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, we should always live with the end in mind. As morbid as that may sound, it is actually one of the smartest things we can do and it is also a wonderful gift that we can give to our families.

How old are you? If you’re old enough to be reading this, then you’re old enough to start planning your own funeral. You may be young and healthy. However, time and chance happens to us all, and if something happens to you today, tomorrow, or next week, and you have your funeral planned, then you have the assurance that your funeral will be just what you want and that your family will be spared the stress and worry, amid their grieving, of trying to figure out what you would have wanted.

One thing that many Americans who put off planning their funerals don’t consider is how much of a burden that lack of planning puts on their families at a time when they are in shock and overwhelmed with everything. Planning your funeral now is an incredibly powerful way to take care of your family, even after you die.

So, how do you go about starting to plan for your funeral?

If you’re between the ages of 20 and 40, are married, have children, and are the primary wage earner in your household, consider the impact on your family if you died suddenly. Investing in life insurance and making sure to begin to build a healthy savings account and to set up investment accounts are two smart ways to plan for the end.

Life insurance rates are much cheaper the younger and healthier you are, so you can lock in rates for whole life insurance policies at very affordable costs compared to purchasing them when you’re older and may have more health issues that will increase the rates you’ll pay substantially.

Putting a set amount of your income into savings and investment accounts is a habit that you should begin early. No matter what other expenses come up, you should try to make sure to put something in these accounts each month, since these will be accounts that your family can immediately use after you die. Don’t forget to set up educational funding accounts for your children as well.

As you enter middle age, if you haven’t begun planning for your own funeral, you are likely to be jolted into thinking about it as your parents and other older family members become elderly and may develop serious health problems or die. Additionally, you may find that more people in your age group – perhaps even friends or relatives – are dying more frequently, and that will surely be a wakeup call to consider your own death and what you want when you die.

If you don’t have life insurance, you can purchase it, even though it will require a health exam and will cost more than it would have cost when you were younger. You should also consider purchasing funeral insurance, which has relatively affordable rates, to cover your final expenses. If you haven’t been putting much income into savings, investment, and retirement accounts, now is the time to do that, especially if your children are grown and you are no longer paying for college or otherwise having to support them.

If you’d like to know more about planning funerals at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD

Is Getting Cremation Jewelry Weird?

After cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD, some people have jewelry made with a small amount of their loved one’s cremation remains. The jewelry is wearable, so its purpose is to allow deceased loved ones to be close by when the jewelry is worn.

Is cremation jewelry weird? Cremations are outpacing traditional burials here in the United States. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is because of the flexibility in using cremated remains.

A portion of them can be kept or buried in an urn, a portion can be scattered in a favorite or special place, a portion can be used to help the environment (building coral reefs to sustain ocean life or mixed in with soil to plant trees and other plants), and a portion can be used to create wearable jewelry. And these are just a few of the options for using cremated remains.

But while people can understand scattering or burying some of a loved one’s cremated remains and using some of them to do something good for the environment, some people aren’t so sure about the whole idea of wearing jewelry that includes part of a deceased loved one’s cremated remains.

However, the practice of creating cremation jewelry has been around a very long time. From the 1300’s through the early 20th century, a very common tradition for people who had lost loved ones was to wear mourning rings.

These rings didn’t contain any of the cremated remains, but they gave the people wearing them a sense of having their deceased loved one near them all the time because strands of the hair of the deceased were incorporated into the creation of the ring.

While mourning rings fell out of favor as the last century passed, the idea of keeping a loved one who had died close by did not. It was that desire that led to the process of creating jewelry like rings, bracelets, lockets, and necklaces that contained a small amount of a loved one’s cremated remains.

If the thought of cremation jewelry seems a little weird to you, there are other ways to use a loved one’s cremation remains to memorialize them and keep a part of them close to you, if not too close (some people keep them even closer, having some of the cremation remains mixed with tattoo ink, and then getting a tattoo done with the special inks).

Having some of the cremation remains mixed with oil-based paints and then having a commemorative painting done with them is an option for using cremation remains that is gaining popularity. There are a number of professional painters around the country who specialize in this type of painting.

They will use special paints to create any kind of painting you want. It might be a portrait of your deceased loved one or something that represents a passion of theirs or an object that was special to them.

If a painting is not the way you want to create a permanent memorial to your loved one using some of their cremation remains, you can opt for other creative ways to incorporate them into something artistic.

An example would be to take some of the cremated remains and incorporate them with a favorite scent and melted wax to create a memory candle that you can place in a special place in your home that reminds you of your loved one.

If you want more information about cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

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Do I Have to Go to the Funeral?

If you’re asking if you have to go to funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, the short answer is, “Yes.” Almost no one likes to go to funerals. Some people are so funeral-adverse that they make the effort to go to the funerals of people they love and care about, drive around the funeral home parking lot for several minutes to try to work up the courage to go inside, and then end up leaving and not attending the funeral.

Funerals aren’t fun social occasions, unlike the other social gatherings of weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties and holidays where friends and family come together to enjoy the event. However, attending funerals is just as important as attending any of these other life events. As adults, we have to come to grips with the reality that death is part of life, not just of the person who has died, but also, eventually, of our own lives.

It can be inconvenient to attend funerals. They may require that you travel some distance to attend. They may require that you take some time off of work or that you miss some other activity you or your family has scheduled. They may require that you rearrange your normal evening schedule and that you eat and go to sleep later than you normally do.

These are sacrifices for others that you should make because in the end, attending funerals is about showing respect for and paying tribute to someone who has died and offering support and encouragement to a bereaved family.

Sometimes a friend or a family member of a friend – or even a family member – lives too far away for it to be practical to attend the funeral in person. However, many people now livestream their loved ones’ funerals for this reason, so if you can’t be at the funeral physically, you should attend virtually through the livestream.

Often funeral services are held on one day (usually in the evening after normal working hours so as many people who would like to can attend) and the graveside services are held the next day, during daylight hours. Unless you are an immediate family or are a close friend of the deceased or the deceased’s family, you do not have to attend both ceremonies. But be sure to attend one of them.

You may be hesitant to attend a funeral because you were emotionally close to the person who died or you are emotionally close to the family of the deceased and you don’t think you can make it through the funeral without falling apart. While it may be difficult, it’s important to remember that no matter how grief-stricken you may be, the funeral is about the immediate family of the deceased and that’s where your attention and focus must be.

There will be time for you to grieve the loss after the funeral, but it’s important to show up and be there for the grieving family during the funeral process.

If going to the viewing or visitation will be the part of the funeral that impacts you most emotionally, then just attend the funeral. However, be sure to send the bereaved family a personal and meaningful sympathy card and a gift like a flowering plant to let them know that you’re thinking about them.

If you’d like to know more about attending funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD

Planning a Celebration of Life

After cremations, which are among the cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, you will want to have a funeral or memorial service that honors and pays tribute to the life of your loved one who has died. This service gives you and your family, along with other family, friends, and acquaintances, an opportunity to express your farewells to your loved one, as well as to honor their memory and to find meaning in their death.

Funeral services or memorial services have traditionally been held before or after cremations to remember a loved one who has died. These types of services often follow a traditional format, although typically funeral services are much more formal than memorial services, that includes readings of poetry, prose, and/or scriptures, eulogies given by people who were close to the deceased and knew them well, spiritual comfort and encouragement, and musical selections.

These types of services are designed to help the bereaved family and those who knew the loved one to mourn collectively and to be able to offer and receive support and sympathy. Although that need never goes away, there are some types of services that have evolved in the last few decades that shift the focus of the services away death and toward life.

The reason for this is that some people feel like the traditional ceremonies in funeral services and memorial services are too impersonal. Because both funeral services and memorial services tend to be performed actively by a few people while the audience is passive and doesn’t participle, it can seem that most of the people who attend these types of services don’t get to express, in a meaning way, how they cared and felt about the person who died.

That has led to the rise of a service that is known as a celebration of life. Celebrations of life can be held in conjunction with funeral services or memorial services, or they can be the only service that is held to remember a loved one who has died.

Celebrations of life can be highly personalized in format and tone. They are specifically designed not to be sad or somber services. Celebrations of life are characterized by prolific storytelling, as memories of the deceased are shared by those who attend, and laughter and smiles. This is because celebrations of life are specifically geared toward remember the positive impact of the deceased on the world around them while they were living.

Planning a celebration of life involves much of the same preparation that planning a funeral service or a memorial service involves. Your funeral director will help guide you as you make the arrangements for this type of service to honor the memory of your loved one’s life.

There are several aspects you’ll need to take into consideration as you plan a celebration of life. You will need to decide the tone and the format. Many people simply gather and share food and memories of the deceased informally.

You’ll need to decide, if food is part of the celebration of life, whether you and your family will provide it personally, it will be catered, or it will be served in a restaurant. That will drive the location, date, and time of the celebration of life.

If there are special activities that you want to include in the celebration of life, then you will need to plan and organize those. Finally, you’ll want to decide how you want to notify people of the celebration of life, and whether you want to leave it open for public attendance or whether you want it to be a private event that only people you invite attend.

If you want more information about celebrations of life and cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD

Funeral Planning Guide for the Bereaved

As you’re planning funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you will find that trying to make many decisions while you’re grieving can be very difficult. However, your funeral director will help with every single aspect, so you will not have to go through the funeral planning process all by yourself.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is where you want to hold the funeral service. Traditionally, funeral services are held at the funeral home or in a place of worship. However, they can also be held somewhere that may have been a special or favorite place of your loved one. When you are choosing the location for the funeral service, you should consider whether it is an appropriate venue for the type of funeral service that you are planning to have.

The next decision that you’ll need to make is about the service itself. You’ll need to decide who will perform the service. While this is often a clergy member, you are free to choose anyone you would like to perform it.

If you want to include eulogies in the funeral service for your loved one, you need to identify the people that you would like to give eulogies, and then make sure they are willing to do them. Not everyone, even if they were very close to your deceased loved one, will be comfortable trying to put a eulogy together and/or speaking in front of people.

Please don’t be upset if someone you’d like to give a eulogy declines to do so. Respect that they cared deeply for your loved one, but they may not be able to express that in the public manner that a eulogy requires.

Another decision that you’ll need to make about the funeral service is whether you want to include a video tribute to your loved one, have a photo display that chronicles the life and achievements of your loved one, and music that your loved one may have liked or would have enjoyed.

None of these is required elements of a funeral service, although music of some sort is typically included in a funeral service, but these are elements that make the funeral service more personalized and will help mourners who attend learn more about what made your loved one so special.

An additional element in the funeral that will need to be decided is military honors. If your deceased loved one was a military veteran, they are entitled to military honors (they are also entitled to free burial, with a free gravestone or grave marker, in a national cemetery).

Military honors are performed by either a local National Guard unit or veterans organization. They include a United States flag, which is presented to the deceased’s family, and TAPs (which may be played live or which is recorded). You will need your loved one’s military separation orders (a copy of Form DD-214) to give to the funeral director, who will make the arrangements for military honors to be presented.

You will also need to decide whether you want an open or closed casket at the funeral service, as well as who you want to serve as pallbearers.

Finally, you’ll need to decide whether you want a public or private burial and whether or not you want a service performed at the grave site before your loved one is buried.

If you’d like to know more about planning funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.