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The Faces of Grief

After cremation services in College Park, MD, you will face the grief of losing your loved one head-on. At first, it will be intense and pervasive, but you will find that grief has many different faces, and even those faces change as you go through the journey.

Sometimes external events are triggers for our grief and our memories as we travel through the grief process. For example, early in grieving, everything that even remotely reminds you of your loved one is probably going to evoke a strong emotional reaction.

But as time goes on, you may find that grief comes in different forms. Instead of life being bad because your loved one has died, you may find that you have good days with bad moments. Or you may find that you have a not-so-great day and someone shares a memory of your loved one and you find it comforting. And, then you may have those seemingly irrational moments when just the smallest – and sometimes, odd – things that remind you of your loved one bring on a complete meltdown.

You may not realize that grief is cumulative. Not all the grief that you experience will be because someone died. As humans, we suffer losses of various kinds throughout our lives and they produce grief.

You may have lost a pet when you were very young or you tried to save a wounded animal and it died. You may have missed an important school event or you weren’t chosen for a sport or activity that you wanted to be involved in. You may have not gotten into the college you wanted to go to or get the scholarship offer you expected.

You may have had to move far away from your family to pursue your education or career and you rarely see them now. You may have gotten married and then divorced. You may have wanted to get married, but it just never happened. You may have been passed over for a promotion at work or you changed jobs and discovered you hated your new job, but you couldn’t go back to your old job because it had been filled.

All of these are examples of losses. All of these – and more – cause you to experience some type of grief. The losses add up and so does the load of grief.

However, there are sometimes in your life where the losses come one right after another, instead of being spaced out by months or years. When this happens, as it has for many people during 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues without abatement, you literally get overwhelmed.

You find it nearly impossible to put two thoughts that make any sense together. You may find yourself feeling exhausted when you wake up in the morning. You may find that it’s hard for you to focus on anything and that you continually feel distracted and disjointed.

All of that is grief from losses that have piled up on top of each other. Not all of these losses are because you had a loved one die, but they all cause you to grieve more intensely.

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If this describes what you’re experiencing, you are not alone. If you’re able to get some professional grief counseling, now would be a good time to take advantage of that. It won’t remove your grief, but professional counseling can help you find strategies for coping with it better so that you’re not feeling so overwhelmed all the time.

If you want more information about grief resources and cremation services offered in College Park, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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The Basics of Funeral Planning

When planning funerals at funeral homes in College Park, MD, you may not know exactly where to start or all the things that you need to do to make sure you’re funeral plans are in place.

So, what goes into a funeral?

First, you’ll need to decide what kind of final disposition you want. You have many options to choose from: traditional burial, green burial, cremation, interment in a mausoleum, etc. Once you’ve decided what kind of final disposition you want, then you’ll need to decide on a casket or an urn.

If you are being buried, interred in a mausoleum, or your cremation remains stored in a columbarium, then you’ll need to select the kind of grave marker you want and what information you want to be included on it.

Where you are interred is the next thing you need to decide on. If you are a member of a church congregation and they have a graveyard, you can very likely get a free burial plot if the graveyard is not full. You may have a family cemetery where you want to be buried (it may be where you currently live or it may be where you grew up). Or you may want to pick a local public cemetery to be buried in.

Most services for funerals are held either in the funeral home or in a sanctuary, but you can choose just about any location where you want your funeral service or memorial service held. The funeral home will help make the arrangements to secure the location when you die.

Next, you’ll need to decide what kind of service you want to have. While you may personally think that no service needs to be held when you die, you’ll want to think about those you leave behind. In reality, the service is for them and it’s an important part of the closure process.

There are many kinds of services that you can have after you die. You may decide you want a traditional funeral service. If you’re a military veteran, you may want to have a military service. If you’re being cremated, you may want to have a memorial service or a celebration of life service.

Once you decide on the type of service you want, then you can customize it so that it includes exactly what your wishes are. There may be things that you want read as part of your service or there may be specific songs that you want to be played. Be sure to document all the details so that your family knows exactly what you want.

You should write your obituary before you die. Only you have lived your life and only you know what you want people to remember about you or to take away from the experiences you’ve had. Be creative and give people a sense of the person you are. Make it personal and make it humorous and make it instructive.

Decide now what you want to wear when you die. The clothes you pick should be the ones that best define you and that people will recognize you in. Traditionally, people were dressed up when they died, but now people are choosing what they like to wear to be buried or cremated in.

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Meet with the funeral home to go over your funeral plan. Your funeral director can help you make it complete, and then they can keep your information on file so that it’s available when you die and your family goes to make arrangements for you.

If you’d like to know more about funeral planning at funeral homes in College Park, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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Strength in Grieving

After cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Adephi, MD, it’s not uncommon for bereaved family members to hear other people tell them how strong they are in the way they handle their loved one’s death. Although this is meant to be a compliment, it may leave you feeling like people aren’t seeing your grief and don’t really understand how you feel.

While some people may appreciate being told they are being strong in handling their loved one’s death, most people do not. Why?

For one thing, when you are grieving, you feel weak and vulnerable. So when someone tells you how strong you are, it can come across as a statement that is patronizing or a statement that reveals that the person who said it really doesn’t understand what and how you are feeling and going through.

Another reason why you may not appreciate hearing that you are being strong in handling your loved one’s death is that you may internalize that statement to mean that you are a stoic person. This can make you feel guilty or bad because you aren’t showing how much you loved and cared about your deceased loved one.

A third reason why the statement that you are being strong in the face of your loved one’s death may not resonate with you is that it implies that not expressing emotion about losing someone you love is better than being emotional about it.

You may interpret this to mean that if you show the emotions of the grief you are experiencing for your loved one that other people will disapprove or be disappointed. So, you may feel the need to bury your emotions, which can make your grieving process longer and worse.

Interestingly enough, another reason why you may not want to hear that you have to be strong about your loved one’s death is that it conveys an implied threat. The threat is that if you don’t keep your emotions in check, then there will be negative consequences that follow.

When someone tells you that you are being strong or you have to be strong after your loved one dies, then they are bypassing the pain you are feeling. Therefore, you know intuitively that you can’t count on that person for empathy, compassion, and support while you are grieving.

The reality is that strength when you’re grieving is not strong as it is defined in most other situations. Yes, you put one foot in front of the other, whether you feel like it or not, and you take care of all the things that you are responsible for, but doing these things while you’re grieving depletes your stamina and energy quickly.

That is because, in the background, you’re dealing with a myriad of thoughts, memories, and emotions related to your loved one, and you’re giving them a permanent home in your mind and your heart as you sort through them.

You may put you “I’m okay” mask on when you deal with the outside world, but you know how big the struggle inside you is. The struggle is where you are strong, but most people will never see that because it happens internally and privately.

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It’s the little things that are big things. It’s opening up old boxes of photos, even though you know the tears will fall. It’s saying your loved one’s name aloud for the first time in casual conversation. It’s being aware of, acknowledging, feeling, and expressing all the emotions of your grief.

If you want more information about cremation services offered in Adephi, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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Why People Die From Dementia

Some funerals at funeral homes in Adephi, MD are for people who died from dementia. Dementia is a complex neurological condition that creates more severe effects as it progresses. There are many different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia.

Someone who has dementia can suffer from multiple types of dementia. Because dementia involves the brain, it also affects the rest of the body and can negatively affect organs like the heart, the kidneys, and the lungs.

Dementia is characterized by memory loss in its early stages. However, as it progresses, dementia begins to affect higher brain functions that we take for granted. In the later stages of dementia, things like balance and coordination are affected, as well as sleep cycles, breathing, heart rate, and digestion.

In the final stages of dementia, people who suffer from it can no longer do what it takes to keep their bodies alive and functioning. This is because of the neurological damage that has been done and the muscle weakness that happens as a result of that.

At this stage of dementia, people are often unable to walk, communicate, maintain bowel and bladder control, feed themselves, chew, and swallow. Once those basic functions are gone, the body can’t get what it needs to survive.

What this leads to is a lack of proper nutrition and dehydration. This, in turn, can cause life-threatening health conditions like heart failure, kidney failure, and respiratory failure. Even though neurological damage is responsible for these secondary health conditions, rarely will a death certificate list dementia as the cause of death. If dementia is mentioned, it will be in the form of whatever condition led to death was a complication of dementia.

Because of this, the actual number of deaths that are caused by dementia are severely underreported.

One of the most common causes of death in dementia patients is a secondary infection. In many cases, this secondary infection is pneumonia. Although pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics in healthy people, people with dementia usually have compromised immune systems that leave them unable to fight a bacterial infection, even with the help of antibiotics.

For people with late stage dementia, the conditions listed below can cause or contribute to multiple organ failure and death:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Traumatic brain injuries and fractures from falls
  • Lung infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Strokes
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Thromboembolisms
  • Sepsis

Because these conditions and their treatments can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing, many people who suffer from dementia and their caregivers opt for comfort care instead of treatment that might extend life for a short period of time.

This is why everyone should have an end-of-life care plan in place. None of us know if or when will develop dementia. The rates of dementia have exploded in the last 30 years. There is significant research that has been done to suggest that lifestyles and the environment (air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution are contributors to the development of dementia) are part of the reason for the sharp increase in dementia cases.

While we may not be able to control the environment, we can control some of the lifestyle factors that may increase the chances that we will develop dementia. These include getting regular exercise, eating healthy food, getting quality sleep, and getting regular health checkups to spot and control conditions that might lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

If you’d like to learn about planning funerals at funeral homes in Adephi, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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The Changes of Loss

After cremation services in College Park, MD, you will be confronted with a lot of changes in your life and to your life because of the death of your loved one. These are often very big changes that take time to adjust and adapt to.

One of the changes you will experience when you lose a loved one is with relationships. You and your family may notice that some people who were friends and who were close before your loved one died become scarce and more distant.

In part, this scarcity and distancing may be because these people are uncomfortable with the death of your loved one and don’t know what to say or do. This scarcity and distancing may, however, be because your deceased loved one was the connection between you and your family and that group of people. When your loved one dies, the connection gets broken.

On the flip side, another change may be that some relationships with other people get closer and stronger. Death has a way of bringing people that may have been more peripheral in your life into a more central role in your life.

Another reason for changes in relationships after your loved one has died is that you and your family have different interests, priorities, and goals than the people you interacted a lot with before your loved one died.

The routines you and your family had before your loved one died will also change. For example, if your loved one had a terminal illness, much of your time as a family may have been spent involved in caregiving activities, like managing medical appointments, caring for your loved one at home, and spending time at the hospital with them.

Once your loved one dies, those activities will stop. This can be a very abrupt change and you and your family may feel a bit lost without all of your energy and attention being focused on taking care of the needs of your loved one.

In time, you’ll develop new routines, but it will take some time to get used to not having to be on call all the time and having the ability to do things that you may have not been able to do while you were caregiving.

Another change that you and your family will experience after the death of your loved one is that of responsibilities. Usually, within a family unit, different members have different responsibilities that they naturally fall into, either because they’re good at them or they chose to do them.

Your loved one had responsibilities that they took care of before they died. You and other family members will now have to pick those up. If they are unfamiliar or you were not part of the execution before your loved one died, this change can be very stressful.

For example, if your spouse handled all the household finances or took care of all the car maintenance, you and your family may initially be at a loss as to what to do. However, by working together – and using help offered by friends or trusted advisors – you and your family members can learn how to take care of these responsibilities and excel at doing them.

A big change that you and your family may face is in your financial situation. If your loved one was the primary wage earner for the family, you and your family may need to find ways to make up for the lost income their death brings. You may have to work more or enter the workforce after a long absence. This can be very stressful.

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Regardless of the changes the loss of your loved one brings, you and your family will learn to cope with them, and, in time, you will be able to navigate them successfully.

If you want information about cremation services offered in College Park, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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Social Distancing and Funerals

When planning funerals now at funeral homes in College Park, MD, one of things that you will have to take into consideration is social distancing. While most Americans seem to have a very difficult time figuring out how to measure six feet between them and other people, your funeral director will have all the social distancing protocols in place for the funeral of your loved one.

Social distancing, especially for funerals, can be very hard to deal with. Funerals, by their very nature, are designed to bring people close together so that the grieving family can get the comfort, support, and consolation they need as they deal with the death of their loved one.

Social distancing eliminates touch, which is an integral part of comfort, as well as intimate conversation (it’s hard to share special moments when you’re talking with someone who’s six feet away from you). Social distancing, which includes the wearing of face masks, also removes some of the contextual interaction that you glean from another person’s facial expressions.

There are also limitations for funeral homes as to how many people can be at a funeral in person. This means that many of the people who may want to attend the funeral of your loved one will not be able to.

Funerals homes, however, have adapted quickly to these limitations and now offer a variety of ways to have funeral services that fulfill the needs of the family for support and consolation and fulfill the needs of mourners to be present to pay their respects to the deceased and to participate in the service.

Some funeral homes, for example, are doing drive-by visitations. You and your family will line up at the entrance at the funeral home, and mourners who want to pay their respects to your loved one and offer their sympathy for you and your family “visit” with you in their car with the windows rolled down.

While you may not get the hugs and physical interaction that is traditional in a visitation, this is an excellent way for both you and your family to get the support you need from mourners who want to offer it to you.

There are many options that funeral homes have for funeral services. One is to offer live streaming services. People who want to attend your loved one’s funeral service can simply join the service virtually online.

Another option is to record the funeral service and make it available to you and your family to share with other mourners.

A third option is for you to host your own virtual funeral service using a streaming service like Zoom or Facebook video messaging. With this option, you can either hold the service at the funeral home or you can hold it in your own home, but people can join the service and even participate live in the service.

With this option, you can have people join the funeral service virtually to do readings, to give eulogies, and to play live music, which are all important components of a traditional funeral service.

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Even though social distancing because of COVID-19 has drastically changed how traditional events, including funerals, are held, that doesn’t mean that you and your family can’t have the support and consolation you need and that you can’t have a meaningful funeral service for your loved one.

If you’d like to know more about planning funerals at funeral homes in College Park, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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Should You Have a Celebration of Life?

After cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Adelphi, MD, one of the types of memorial services that you can have is a celebration of life. When you die, your family will understandably be devastated with your loss.

They will be grieving your absence in their lives. They will want a service that is not only a memorial to you, but that also allows them to share memories, stories, and adventures in their life with you.

Choosing a celebration of life as a memorial service is often based on who you were as a person and how you want to be remembered. You may not want a somber, serious, and formal memorial service, but instead you may want a service that is uplifting and that focuses on the life you lived, not the death you died.

A celebration of life is a service that focuses on how you lived your life, instead of focusing solely on your death. If you are someone who is lighthearted and doesn’t like serious ceremonies, then a celebration of life may be the perfect choice for your memorial service.

Celebrations of life are very informal gatherings. The focus of a celebration of life is to talk about you when you were alive and to celebrate the life that you lived. While a celebration of life is not exactly a party, the focus is more about living than dying.

So what’s involved in a celebration of life? Usually, celebrations of life feature some sort of entertainment, food, drinks, and a very loose, informal atmosphere where friends and family exchange memories and stories about you and your impact on their lives.

Some people choose to have their favorite games or pastimes as the centerpiece of their celebration of life. For example, if you love football, your friends and family might hold your celebration of life while watching your favorite football team play.

Other examples might be having a celebration of life at the beach or going skiing in the mountains.

Whatever is special to you in your life might be used as the theme of your celebration of life. Since celebrations of life are held after cremation, you can even have your family and friends take the time to plan a weekend to meet somewhere to have your celebration of life.

Music is one of the things that most of us hold dear. We like certain genres of music or certain songs, and many celebrations of life will include our favorite songs or genres of music. You might want to have live music or you may want to make a celebration of life playlist on Spotify or another streaming music service to be played at your celebration of life.

Food and drinks are almost always a part of celebrations of life. You can request that your celebration of life be held at one of your favorite restaurants or you can ask that your favorite foods and drinks be served at your celebration of life. Since the focus is on you and your life, the food and drinks served should be the ones that are your favorites.

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The atmosphere of celebrations of life is very casual and so too, often, is the dress. You can specify what you’d like people to wear if there is a theme (such as a football game) to your celebration of life.

If you want more information about cremation services offered in Adelphi, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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The Emotional Purposes of a Funeral

For some funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD, the obituaries will say that they are not having any kind of formal services for their deceased loved ones at their request. While it is up to each person to decide how they want their deaths to be memorialized, you should think about why funeral rituals exist before you ask your family not to have a service when you die.

One of the reasons for funerals is to acknowledge the life of someone who has died. When you ask your family not to have a funeral for you when you die, although you may not realize it, what you’re asking them to do is not to acknowledge your life.

Every life is important. Your life is important. You have made contributions to your family, to your community, and to the world around you. If you don’t have a funeral service, then it doesn’t give your family a chance to acknowledge the contributions that you’ve made throughout your life, in every area of your life.

Another reason for funerals is to allow people who love you to grieve together over your loss. Grieving is hard, but it’s not as hard when you’re surrounded by people who care, who want to comfort, who want to support you in that grief.

A funeral gives that environment so that your family can get the consolation and the sympathy that they need as they mourn your death. If you choose not to have a funeral, then you deprive your family of the support they need at a very vulnerable time after your death.

Funerals memorialize those who have died. What this means is that memories and stories of the person who is died get shared. The sharing of those stories and memories is etched in the minds of your loved ones as they remember who you were and what you gave them when you were alive.

If your family doesn’t have an opportunity to do this after your death, there can be a sense of emptiness and incompletion with regard to both your life and your death.

Closure is one of the most important parts of funeral rituals. While your family will never forget you, and the void that you leave behind is unfillable, a funeral will allow your family to accept the reality of your death and start on the journey forward in a life without you.

This is essential. You want your family to be able to process their grief in a healthy way, to move forward in a meaningful way, and to be able to accept your death without forgetting your life.

When there is no closure after someone dies, there can be emotional problems down the road. Your loved ones may experience complicated grief, which is a grieving process that can be prolonged over years and years. Your loved ones may also experience depression and they may not be able to ever fully process your death in a healthy way.

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Finally, funerals let the extended group of people who know you, who care about you, and who love you pay their respects to you and offer their sympathy and condolences to your family. Funerals give your sphere of influence the chance to mourn your death as well, but also to be there to help take care of your family while they go through the grieving process.

If you’d like to know more about planning funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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Erroneous Beliefs about Grief

One of the cremation services offered in College Park, MD is access to grief resources after the death of a loved one. Grief is part of the journey you will have to travel when someone whom you love dies.

Your grief will not be exactly like anyone else’s grief for your loved one. Our relationships with those we love are personal and individual, and the things that we grieve about when they are gone reflect that uniqueness and individualization.

It’s important to remember that grief is a response to loss. While we typically think of grief as being specific to the death of a loved one, the reality is that we can experience grief over any type of loss.

These losses may not be the death of a person, but they are the death of something. Losses like this can including being laid off or terminated from a job, not getting a job that we really wanted, moving away from a place we love to a new city (perhaps because of a new job), breaking up a long-term relationship (married or not married), and losing a close friendship because of time, distance, or an unresolvable difference.

Loss can come at many places and in many ways in our lives and they can trigger feelings of grief. If these kinds of losses come on the heels of the death of someone you love, they can intensify your grief until it can seem as though grief is swallowing you up.

You may, in an attempt to stem this overload of grief, be more susceptible to some of the erroneous beliefs about grief.

One of these erroneous beliefs about grief is that if you ignore the pain of grief, then it will disappear faster. The reality is that you more you try to ignore the pain you are feeling from grieving or the more you do to try to distract yourself from it, the longer you will actually have to grieve.

The painful part of grieving will not go away until you face the emotions and feelings of grief and deal with them. This can be unpleasant at times. It can be confusing at times. It can be very unsettling at times.

However, all of this is a normal part of the grieving process, and ignoring it or trying to distract yourself from it will only make it last longer and make it much worse.

Another erroneous belief about grief is that you are truly grieving the death of your loved one if you cry about it. Crying is good for you (although if you cry long enough, you may have a headache and swollen eyes that only sleep will take away), but crying is just one way to express the emotions of grief.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing someone – or even you – is not grieving deeply just because they – or you – aren’t crying a lot. There are many ways to process grief without any external manifestation of it.

The need to be emotionally strong after the death of a loved one is another erroneous belief about grief. This one may be harder for you to navigate through because this erroneous belief is projected on us by society.

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We are expected to return to our normal lives shortly after the death of our loved ones and function as though nothing traumatic has happened to us. We are expected to meet or exceed all the expectations of us as well, or better, than we did before our loved one’s death.

However, pretending to be strong when you are emotionally shattered inside means delaying grief. While you may be able to do this for a while (perhaps even years), eventually a day of reckoning comes when you can no longer hold off the grief. It will be stronger, more intense, and likely will take make longer to work through.

If you need information about the cremation services offered in College Park, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.

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How Funeral Homes Help You in Loss

Making arrangements for funerals at funeral homes in College Park, MD is never easy after the death of a loved one. However, funeral homes play a very important role in guiding you through the funeral process and making sure that you and your family have the support and comfort you need as you prepare to say goodbye to your loved one.

One of the things that funeral homes provide is a customized funeral experience. Perhaps your loved one specified the type of funeral service they wanted to have and provided all the details so that all you have to do is convey their wishes to the funeral home.

Funeral homes are able to accommodate just about any type of funeral service that can be imagined and they can ensure that every detail of the funeral meets the wishes of your deceased loved one.

If your loved one did not leave any instructions about the type of funeral they wanted, the funeral home will help you and your family in putting together a funeral that will honor and respect the memory of your loved one.

Funeral homes are also a safe place to grieve after the death of a loved one. Funeral directors often become funeral directors because they want to be able to comfort and support people in their loss. They will openly talk with you about how you are feeling, and they will reassure you, perhaps in the midst of many tears, that grieving is normal and acceptable.

Funeral homes deal with death and grief continuously. They know how to make you and you family comfortable with your grief. You will notice when you meet with the funeral director that the setting is warm and even your smallest needs, such as tissues to dry your eyes and blow your nose when you are crying, are attended to.

Funeral homes are full of compassionate people who genuinely want to help you and your family as you plan the funeral of your loved one and as you go through all the things that must be done when your loved one dies. You will find each person you deal with to be kind and responsive.

Support after the death of a loved one is another way that funeral homes help you in loss. The funeral home staff knows how to offer you the assurance and guidance you need as you make funeral arrangements and they also have ways to support you (such as access to grief resources, for example) after the funeral of your loved one.

You can count on the funeral home every step of the way. While you may falter at times, the funeral home will not, and they will be there to hold you up and to make sure the funeral for your loved one is flawless.

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The funeral home also offers you help in your loss by being the liaison and facilitator for much of what happens after the death of your loved one. The funeral director will reach out, for example, to make arrangements with all the parties involved in a funeral.

This will include coordination with the cemetery where your loved one will be buried, arranging special services, such as military honors, with local veterans’ organizations, handling funeral flowers in the funeral home and at the grave site, and taking care of getting death certificates.

If you’d like to know more about planning funerals at funeral homes in College Park, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A.