Monthly Archives: March 2019

funeral homes in Adelphi, MD

The Purpose of Pallbearers at Funerals

Pallbearers are always a part of funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD. The word pallbearer comes from the decorative heavy cloth used to drape the casket – it’s known as a pall – and the tradition of having pallbearers is almost as old as funerals themselves.  

Regardless of whether the funeral service is open or closed casket, the role of pallbearers is transport the casket. At the end of the funeral service, pallbearers will carry the casket to the hearse before anyone else leaves the service. Once the hearse arrives at the cemetery where the deceased will be buried, pallbearers then carry the casket from the hearse to the gravesite.   

There are usually six to eight pallbearers. They carry the casket using handles on the sides of the casket. It is not unusual in some cultures for pallbearers to carry the casket on their shoulders.  

Choosing pallbearers for the funeral of a deceased loved one is an important part of the service. When deciding who to use as pallbearers, if your deceased loved one did not designate them in advance, think about the people who were closest to your loved one. These might be family members, long-time friends, or close colleagues. You can also choose to appoint pallbearers from organization that the deceased may have belonged to, such as civic groups or the military. Traditionally, because the casket is heavy, pallbearers have been men, but it’s becoming more common for women to be chosen to be pallbearers as well.  

You can also designate people who were close to a deceased love one as honorary pallbearers. These are people who will walk in front or behind the casket as it is being transported. This is generally done for people who were very close to the deceased, but who are unable, for whatever reason, to actually carry the casket itself.  

Take some time to give thoughtful consideration to the people you choose to be pallbearers for your loved one. Consider those who might have been close, but may not be emotionally up to the task of carrying the casket or even being an honorary pallbearer because they are overcome with grief.  

Being a pallbearer is an honor and a way to demonstrate deep respect for the deceased. Being chosen as a pallbearer also means that you had a special place in the deceased’s life and it gives you an opportunity to participate in the funeral process that will take the deceased to their final resting place.  

Pallbearers need to arrive early at the funeral service. There will be a designated area up front where pallbearers will sit (it’s usually the row across the aisle from where the family is sitting).   

Dress conservatively (dark suit and tie for men or dark suit or dress for women). Wear comfortable shoes, since you may be carrying the casket over uneven ground. The funeral home staff will make sure you know how to carry the casket so it doesn’t get dropped during transportation (always a fear among pallbearers).  

Because pallbearers carry out one of the most important roles in funeral services, solemnity, decorum, and respect are key attributes that each of them must display. If you’ve been chosen as a pallbearer and you don’t think you can do it, either physically or emotionally, have a honest discussion with the family of the deceased and offer to help them in some other way. They chose you because you were close to the deceased, and even though you may not be able to fulfill this role in the funeral process, there are many other ways that you can serve the family.   

If you’d like to understand more about the role of pallbearers at funeral homes in Adelphi, 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.  

cremations in Greenbelt, MD

Understanding Cremations Terminology

The terminology associated with cremations in Greenbelt, MD is important to know to gain insight into the cremation process. Many people know about cremation, but they don’t understand what’s involved and what to expect when cremations are the funeral option that’s chosen. We’ll give you a basic guide to cremation terms.  

Cremation is the process of exposing human remains to intense heat for a period of time to decompose the body down to bone fragments. All metal has to be removed during this process, so the casket itself contains no metal and glasses, watches, and devices like pacemakers are removed before the cremation starts.  

crematorium is the structure where the cremation chamber is housed. These structures may be solely devoted to cremations and funerals or they may offer cremation and funeral services in addition to other types of services that are not funeral-related.  

Cremation chambers are small enclosures that are designed to withstand very high heat and temperatures. They are most often lined with brick or tile. This is where the actual cremation takes place.  

cremation container is the enclosure that the body is cremated in. It can be a fully-combustible casket or a heavy-duty cardboard box. It must be rigid, so it can be easily handled and large enough to fully enclose the body.  

Memorialization refers to how the cremains are handled after the cremation. Cremains are given to the family when the cremation is done, and the family can decide what to do with them. Common options are burying them with previously-deceased family members (usually spouses), scattering them in a special place, storing them in an urn in a columbarium, keeping them in a decorative urn at home, or turning some of the cremains into wearable jewelry.  

An urn is the traditional receptacle for cremains. The history of the use of urns to hold the remains of loved ones goes back as far as the Roman Empire. Urns can be made out of a variety of materials, including wood, glass, and clay, among others. Urns are also high-customizable and many unique and creative options are available.  

Cremation boxes are what the crematorium uses to present the cremains to the family if they have not yet chosen a memorialization option, such as an urn or storage in a columbarium.  

columbarium is a space specifically designed and built to hold cremains. Columbariums have niches where the cremains, in an urn or cremation box, can be placed. A grave marker or gravestone is added to mark the final resting place of a loved ones cremains.  

Scattering gardens are common space outdoor areas that are specifically designated for scattering cremains. The cremains are mixed in with the existing soil. While most scattering gardens are public common spaces, some cemeteries are starting to add them as a place for families to scatter the cremains of their loved ones. 

An interment is the act of putting cremains in a permanent container, such as an urn. The container can then be housed in a mausoleum, a columbarium, or it can be displayed at the family’s home.  

Cremains are the cremated remains of the deceased. These are not ashes, as is commonly assumed, but instead bone fragments – which are all that is left after cremation – ground finely into a powder-like consistency.  

direct cremation is a type of cremation where the body is cremated immediately after death occurs. The body is not embalmed, nor are there viewings, visitations, or funeral services. Often, memorial services are held at a much later date.  

If you’d like to know more about terminology related to cremations 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.  

cremations in Beltsville, MD

Personalizing Cremations

Personalizing cremations in Beltsville, MD is part a major part of the funeral process. One misconception that causes people to hesitate to choose cremation as their funeral option is that no services – memorial or funeral – can be held if someone is cremated. That’s not true. Personalizing cremations is an integrated part of saying goodbye to someone you love.  

With cremations, there are many options available that can remember and memorialize your loved one.   

One option is to have a funeral service. You may or may not choose to have a casket viewing of the deceased (if you do, it can either be the cremation casket or a casket rented from the funeral home just for the viewing). If you don’t, and it’s before the cremation has taken place, then it will follow a traditional funeral service format, which usually includes secular and/or religious readings, eulogies, and music. If you have the funeral service after cremation, then the urn is usually displayed at the front of the room where the service is being held. 

Another way to personalize cremations is to have a memorial service. These usually take place after the cremation and are designed to be more casual and flexible as the deceased is often remembered in stories and memories. 

You can also personalize cremations by setting up a display that reflects hobbies or personal interests that were important to your loved one. Ideas might range from artwork they did or crafts that they created. Some people are avid sports fans, so you can display the sports memorabilia that your loved one collected. Use your imagination to create a personalized display that captures the essence of your loved one.  

Cremations can also be personalized by creating photo tributes to the deceased. You can do this with a beautiful cardboard background, using pictures that capture key moments in your loved ones live. Write a little bit underneath each photo to give it context (date it was taken, what was happening at the time, and why it’s important) and to make it a special display. You can also create a digital photo album using PowerPoint. PowerPoint lets you add audio, so you can narrate the photo album, or you can simply add some music that was special to your loved one. Once you’ve created the digital photo album, you can set it up to play automatically and you can also save it as a video file that can either be uploaded to YouTube (you’ll have to create a channel) or saved on flash drives for people who may want a copy.  

A fourth way to customize cremations is by the urn you choose to hold your loved one’s cremains. Urns can be engraved or have plaques added with things that highlight your love one’s personality, traits, and interests.  

Even after cremations, you can further personalize and honor your loved one’s memory. You can have an invitation-only ceremony to scatter your loved one’s ashes in the place they chose or a place that was significant to them. You can also turn some of the cremains into jewelry that you can wear all the time.  

If you’re interested in personalizing cremations in Beltsville, MD, you can speak with our empathetic and experienced staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit us at our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.  

Burtonsville, MD cremations

Ways to Mark Significant Anniversaries

After Burtonsville, MD cremations, loss and grief will walk hand-in-hand at the forefront of your life in the days, weeks, and months to come. Although the intensity of grief lessens as time passes, it’s still a constant part of your life after you lose someone you love.  

Anniversaries of all sorts can be particularly difficult to deal with, because that is when the loss comes back in full force. The anniversary might be a birthday, Mother’s or Father’s Day, a holiday that was special to your family, or the day your loved one died. However, there are ways to turn what may be grief-filled days into opportunities for healing through meaningful acknowledgements of your loved one and your loss.  

One way to mark significant anniversaries is to be with your loved one. If, after cremation, your loved one was buried in a cemetery plot, stored in a columbarium, buried in an urn garden, or the cremains were made into jewelry or scatter, then go to or wear your loved one and spend time with them.   

Another way to mark significant anniversaries is to create a memorial. If you are a writer, set up a blog and use anniversaries to talk about your loved one and why those anniversaries are important to you and were important to them. Writing can be very cathartic and it can give you an outlet to express grief, sorrow, and loss, as well as a venue to remember the good times, the good memories, and what you loved most about the person you lost.  

If writing’s not your thing, then create a slideshow or a movie with music and pictures of your loved one. Choose music that fits your mood, or that you both liked, or that captures sentiments about your love one. Create a free channel on YouTube, upload the video, and share it with family and friends.  

A third way to mark significant anniversaries is to host a gathering of family and friends to remember your loved one. Make it easy on yourself by having everyone bring food and drinks. Sit down and share stories and memories. Laugh. Cry. Smile. Remember.  

You may need some quiet time on significant anniversaries. That’s okay. Take some time to be alone with your feelings. Go outside and take a long walk or go to a park and walk through wooded paths or go to the beach (if you’re lucky enough to be close to a beach) and walk the beach and listen to the constant ebb and flow of the waves as the go back and forth on the shore. Just find some place that gives you peace and spend some time alone there to process your thoughts and feelings.  

A final way that you can mark significant anniversaries is to go through the things you kept from your loved one’s life. That may mean photo albums, family heirlooms, recipe cards or books, or cards and letters they wrote. Going through these familiar things can be very comforting and can help you remember your loved one is a very positive way.  

If you’d like other significant anniversary strategies after Burtonsville, MD cremations, you can speak with our experienced staff 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.