Monthly Archives: June 2020

cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD

What Causes Healthy Young People to Die from COVID-19?

Determining the cause of death can be one of the cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD. When elderly people die, autopsies are seldom performed, unless there is some external evidence that they died an unnatural death. However, when younger people die suddenly, it is very common for autopsies to be performed to determine the cause of death.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the United States and the rest of the world, the working premise of health care professionals is that older people, especially those with other health conditions, are more likely to develop the worst symptoms of COVID-19 and to die from them.

That makes sense from a scientific standpoint. However, as the pandemic continues its march across the world, more and more cases of young healthy people contracting COVID-19, developing serious symptoms, and dying from it are emerging.

Consider 30-year-old Ben Luderer of New Jersey. His wife and he both were infected with COVID-19. His wife had some mild symptoms and got better. Ben’s symptoms were mild at first, as well, but on Friday, March 27, 2020, they suddenly became serious enough that Ben decided he needed to go to the hospital.

Ben’s wife drove him to the emergency room. While she waited in the car (because no visitors were allowed into the hospital), Ben received oxygen, fluids, and Tylenol. He was sent home later that night with the instructions to “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

By Sunday, Ben began to feel better and looked like he was over the hump of the worst of the symptoms of COVID-19. He got up and he ate dinner for the first time in days.

However, within a few hours, Ben’s serious symptoms returned, including profuse sweating and difficulty breathing. His wife asked Ben if he needed to go back to the hospital. Ben said he wasn’t sure.

Ben and his wife were sleeping apart in line with quarantine protocol, but they texted back and forth from the bedroom, where Ben was, and the living room, where his wife was. They worked on getting Ben’s breathing regulated and getting his raging fever under control.

Ben finally was able to go to sleep. His wife fell asleep listening to the now-rhythmic sound of Ben’s breathing. When she woke up at 2 a.m., she checked on Ben and his breathing seemed normal and unlabored. However, when she awoke at 6 a.m., she didn’t hear Ben breathing. He had died in the four hours since she’d last looked in on him.

These COVID-19 deaths have doctors puzzled because there are no underlying health issues or aging concerns that those who they think have a greater risk of dying have.

However, there are some suspects that may be identified as culprits when the virus is better understood. One suspect is a gene variation in the ACE2 gene. ACE2 is an enzyme that attaches to the outside surface of the heart and the lungs, and researchers think that some sort of mutation in this gene may make it harder or easier for COVID-19 to penetrate cells in the lungs.

Another suspect is the substance that the body produces that helps the lungs contract and expand well. This is known as surfactant. If the body produces enough of this substance, the lungs work very well when they expand and contract (easy breathing). If the body doesn’t produce enough, the lungs get rigid and don’t expand and contract well (labored breathing).

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These are just two of the unknowns about COVID-19. There are many more. With time, answers will come. Until then, stay safe.

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.

funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD

How to Comfort a Grieving Child

Funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD affect every person they touch. When loved ones die, the entire family is profoundly affected by the loss. While you may tend, when a loved one in your family dies, to focus on the grief of the adults in the family.

Their grief, while individually experiencing their own unique type of grief, has similar features, looks familiar, and evokes familiar responses. However, the children in the family often get overlooked, even though they’ve experienced a loss too.

While children may not fully understand the concept of death and what it means for them in relation to their loved one who has died, children do understand absence and loss. This may be one thing that causes them to grieve.

Another thing that may cause children to grieve after the death of a loved one is seeing their immediate family members grieve. There is something incredibly sad about seeing the adults you love, look up to, and depend on to dry your tears and help you through your sadness crying tears that you don’t know how to dry and exhibiting sadness that you don’t know how to help them with.

These are only two of the spokes of grief that children may experience when there has been a death of a close family member. There are many others. However, children seldom express grief, which for them can be accompanied by sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger, in the way that adults do.

Children tend to act out more, not want to go to sleep, and be more fearful of everything when they are grieving. They may be more aggressive with each other and they may have a short fuse about both big and little things (everything may turn into a battle).

As an adult, you should pay special attention to your children to make sure that their grief is being addressed, explained, and comforted.

To address your children’s grief, you have to talk about it. This often means putting your own grief aside to let your kids know that you are sad and you know they are sad as well. Let them know that you are there for them and they can talk with you about how they’re feeling. Help them to understand that sad, fearful, anxious, and angry feelings are normal when we experience a loss.

Let them ask questions. Because children don’t understand all the nuances of death and loss, they have a lot of questions. Explain each answer in language they can understand, but make sure you are open and honest with them.

There will be a lot of questions from your children along the way when they are grieving. Sometimes, those questions will come out of the blue, seemingly in isolation from anything else that is happening at that moment. But, for your children, these questions are the product of their own processing of grief, loss, and death, so make sure to take the time to listen to them and to answer them.

Language is extremely important when you’re discussing death and grief with your children. Our culture has a lot of euphemisms for death (“gone to sleep,” “passed away,” “left for their heavenly home,” and others) that can actually make death much murkier – and scarier – for your children.

If you tell your children, for example, that a loved one who has died has gone to sleep, they may suddenly develop a fear of going to sleep themselves because they believe they won’t wake up. While your intentions may be to soften the blow of death and to provide comfort for your children’s grief, you may, by simply using a euphemism, plant another fear in them.

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

cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD

Find Purpose in Your Life While You’re Alive

Sharing stories and memories are part of the cremation services heard in Greenbelt, MD. They paint a picture of someone who was loved and who has died. How you live now is what will influence the kinds of stories and memories that are shared at your cremation services.

Living life with purpose – find what is meaningful for you, important to you, and what you’re passionate about and incorporate it into the fabric of your life – is something you can start doing today. Perhaps you already have elements of this in your life, but they are not as fully integrated nor do you get to embrace them as often as you’d like to.

You may be passionate about helping other people. Whether you’re the person who always takes a meal to the neighbor whose loved one died, who had a baby, or who has a family member who is sick or in the hospital, or you’re involved in serving the needs of people in your community by volunteering, you may find that you don’t get to take advantage of these opportunities as much as you’d like because you’re too busy doing other things.

It’s always helpful when you want to have a purpose in your life and everything else seems to be getting in the way to stop and think about the day you die. What are you doing now that will matter then and what won’t?

Most of us don’t like to contemplate our own deaths, but when you stop to think about the end, it gives you a chance to rethink the present and focus on those things that matter most in life. The Pulitzer-Prize winning Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman wrote a soul-searching column about this in “The Company Man.”

We can get so focused on the busyness of our lives – much of which can be spent running in circles without getting anywhere or jumping from one thing to another or trying to juggle several things at the same time and never getting anything accomplished – that we lose the purpose and the passion of our lives.

We can be strangers to our own families and mysteries to our neighbors and friends because we never stopped to share our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and our passions with them. Is that the way you want to die? Of course not.

So, now is the time to reclaim your life and fill it with purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning often come into your life when you change your focus from yourself to other people. We live in a society that encourages focus on “me” and “I.”

Look at your social media accounts right now. For the most part, they are full of posts from people talking about themselves, admiring themselves, and espousing their ideas and their opinions. They’re looking for people to admire them as much as they admire themselves and every thumbs up or heart gives them that hit of dopamine that reinforces their focus on themselves.

But dopamine rushes from adulation are temporary and they don’t fill your soul in a deep and meaningful way that purpose, with a focus on helping, serving, and doing for other people – even if it’s just your immediate family or your closest group of friends – does.

When you die, your purpose and your passion will be interwoven in the stories and memories shared about you. That will be the legacy of your life and what you will pass on to those you leave behind.

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

funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD

Grief Upon Grief

After funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, your grief begins to settle in as the reality that you’ve lost someone you love becomes fact in your mind and in your emotions. Grieving at any time is a difficult journey to walk through, but you may find that, right now, it’s not just difficult. It seems overwhelming.

There are a lot of reasons for that and you should be aware of them. As the COVID-19 sweeps across the United States, we are besieged with stories and images of death. The stories are heartbreaking as this pandemic escalates in its unrelenting and seemingly random selection of victims.

The images of large facilities being converted into temporary morgues in large urban areas is disturbing. The impact on daily life and routines, as we knew it before the COVID-19 pandemic, is unfamiliar (i.e., you can’t go back to the old routine you had before your loved one died) and unsettling. The rhetoric around the pandemic is inconsistent and, sometimes, incoherent, creating confusion and fear.

The death of your loved one created a huge change in your life. Suddenly and simultaneously, COVID-19 is bombarding you with a lot of other changes, some great and some small, but all requiring adjustment.

When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, one of the most compelling things that are on your mind, whether consciously or unconsciously is “no more changes.” When a loved one dies, you need time to work through the grieving process without more upheaval.

You may find that you’re reluctant to move anything in your home after your loved one’s death. If your loved one was terminally ill and was in hospice care at home, you may find yourself overcome with emotion when the medical supply company comes to take away the equipment (hospital bed, oxygen concentrator or tanks, etc.) they provided for your loved one’s care.

You may leave your loved one’s things exactly where they were at the time they died. Clothes will stay folded in drawers or hanging in closets because removing them is another change. You may keep personal items on dressers or cabinets because moving them would be another change.

The change of learning to live without someone you love is part of what comes out of the grieving process. But suddenly having to deal with a lot of other changes that come from external sources on top of this big change in your life can have a dramatic effect on you while you’re grieving.

While that’s one reason you may be feeling overwhelmed as you grieve the loss of your loved one, the other reason is that you are experiencing grief upon grief.

You have the personal grief of the death of someone you love. Placed on top of that – and, to some extent, combined with it – is the grief of people around you, in your town, in your county, in your state, in your country because they’re loved ones are dying. It can be too much.

Perhaps it’s time to take a break from most of the 24/7 world that technology brings us. While there are many wonderous things about all the technology we have, there is also a saturation level that comes with it that can feel like it’s drowning you emotionally.

Consider limiting the time you spend catching up with the news. Consider limiting your time on social media. Consider, instead, spending more time connecting with family members and close friends who can encourage, comfort, and support you while you’re grieving.

Bad news and change are constants in life. COVID-19 has made change and bad news an epidemic. But you can protect yourself by distancing yourself from you and getting the nurturing and protection you need from those who love and care for you the most.

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