Monthly Archives: August 2020

remation services in Beltsville, MD

Feeding a Grieving Family

As a family gathers for cremation services in Beltsville, MD, they are dealing with the shock – even if they knew death was imminent – of their loss, grief, and all that is involved in making funeral arrangements. Food and eating are usually not even on their radar. And, if it is, they will not have the time or the energy to cook and eat.

Providing meals for a grieving family is a great way that you and other friends and family members can show your support for them. Whether the family attends your church or has lived in your neighborhood for a while, setting up a meal delivery system for a couple of weeks for them will ensure that the family has the nutritional sustenance they need.

If you’re part of a team or a committee of one that is making sure a bereaved family is being fed, here are some guidelines that can help.

You should have a designated place at their home to deliver food. Typically, this is their front porch since it’s usually the easiest and least intrusive part of their home to access. Place a couple of sturdy boxes and a large cooler filled with ice (replenish as necessary) to hold the food and drinks that are being delivered. By doing this, you will not disturb the family if it’s an inconvenient time and they won’t have to feel obligated to entertain anyone delivering food.

Be sure to bring water (plain and natural sparkling) and other drinks (milk, half and half or coffee creamer, iced tea and juices, etc.) to put in one cooler. Make sure you include items to make hot coffee and tea (provide both Keurig-type pods and ground coffee and tea bags).

Although most hot food is for dinners, be sure to provide food for breakfasts and lunches. Good breakfast foods can be easy-to-prepare foods like bread and bagels, jams and jellies, and fruit and cold cereals. Good choices for lunch foods are bread, condiments, deli meats, pickles, and cut vegetables (a vegetable tray is a good idea).

Try to provide food that is both easily transportable and nutritious. For dinner meals, a hot entrée (purchased or homemade) with prepared vegetables or salad fixings and salad dressings are good options. Make entrees in disposable containers that can be thrown away so that the bereaved family doesn’t have to worry about returning dishes.

Prepare enough food to feed all of the family members who may be staying at the house. You can also fix soups and stews, but deliver them in large plastic containers that do not need to be returned.

All meals that you provide should be easy to prepare or easy to reheat. Grieving family members may not eat the food immediately, so when they are ready to eat it, they should be able to get it ready without a lot of time and effort.

If you or others in the meal delivery rotation don’t have time to cook a meal, consider picking up cooked rotisserie chickens and add cooked vegetable sides (most grocery stores have these) or pick up a cooked pasta dinner with salads from a pizzeria. Fast foods, pizzas, fried chicken, and carbohydrate-heavy sides are also acceptable if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare food, but try to make sure that any food delivered to the family is as nutritional as it can be because a grieving family will need it.

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

funeral homes in Beltsville, MD

Spending Time with Someone Who is Dying

Before funerals at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, people that you love and care about will be diagnosed with a terminal illness with very little time left to live, will suffer from heart failure, will suffer strokes, or will simply be nearing the end of their natural lives.

You may be hesitant about spending time with people who are dying, whether they’re in the hospital, in hospice care (at the hospital or at home), or simply living out their last days at home. Not only may the prospect of death intimidate you, but you may feel like you will say or do something inappropriate or wrong.

However, you should spend time with them, no matter what your concerns or fears are. Here are some guidelines that should make this easier for you and for them.

One thing you can do when you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying is to find out how they are feeling physically and emotionally. This is extremely important because it gives those who are dying a voice and it gives you a potential opportunity to help them in tangible ways.

Ask them if they are in pain. You can make sure that their families and medical personnel know so that they don’t have any discomfort during the dying process. Ask them if they need anything. Maybe they want a book. Maybe they need to move so they’re more comfortable. Maybe they want you to convey something to another friend or to a family member. There are many ways you can meet their needs.

Ask them if you can help them with anything. They may not be able to hold a drink by themselves and they need your help in holding it for them. Maybe they need to go to the restroom, and you can get help for them to be able to go. Maybe their family has needs that you can help them with, and by helping their family, you are helping them.

When you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying, you should listen more than you talk. This means being an active listener. People who are dying often want to talk about their lives, their families, and their successes and regrets as they make peace with death. Sometimes they will share the history of their family as well.

All you need to do is listen and ask relevant questions about the things they are talking about while giving them the ability to do most of the talking. Don’t interrupt their stories and or try to change subjects, even if what they want to talk about isn’t comfortable for you. People who are dying are closing the last chapter of their lives and you can support them in doing that.

Another thing you can do when you’re visiting a friend or loved one who is dying is to touch them. Touch is a very comforting gesture that you can make to someone who is dying. It tells them that you care about them.

Don’t overstay your welcome, unless you’re an immediate family member, with a dying person. As the dying process progresses, the person will tire easily and everything they do, or even say, will require almost all their energy. If you can, do several short visits instead of one long visit. If death is close, let the person know that you appreciate and care about them and you will miss them when they are gone. Don’t be afraid to cry or say goodbye, because that can give both of your closure.

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

cremation services in Burtonsville, MD

Is Embalming Done for Cremations?

When you’re planning cremation services in Burtonsville, MD for your loved one who has died, you may wonder about embalming. Most people have heard of embalming as part of making funeral arrangements, but they don’t really know what embalming is or why it is done.

Embalming is a process that sanitizes and preserves a person’s body after they die. Embalming techniques have been around for thousands of years (Egyptian rulers and royalty were embalmed before they were entombed in the pyramids), but embalming didn’t become a common practice in the United States until after the death of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

President Lincoln had already adopted the embalming process during the American Civil War, because of the staggering number of deaths of American troops around the nation, and often far from their homes. The bodies of the dead soldiers simply would not have made the journeys home without severe decomposition if they had not been embalmed, so it was a common practice in the military.

President Lincoln also had his son, Willie, embalmed after the 11-year-old boy died in 1862. So, it made sense that President Lincoln himself would be embalmed after his death.

But embalming was a practical matter in President Lincoln’s death as well, because his body went on a three-week train ride around the country so that Americans could mourn his death before he was buried in his native state of Illinois.

Three weeks is a long time for an embalmed body, that doesn’t have access to additional preservation techniques, like extreme cold, to hold up without noticeable degradation of the body. So, embalming does have an expiration date.

But, if your loved one is going to be cremated, do they need to be embalmed?

The answer is, “It depends.”

If you are planning on holding a viewing for your loved one before they are cremated, then they will need to be embalmed. A viewing is a cremation service that enables friends and family to pay their respects to your loved one and to offer their sympathy and comfort to you and your family. But, because viewings require that the casket be open, your loved one will need to be embalmed for the service.

If you’re planning to have a funeral service for your loved one before they are cremated, and their body will be displayed during the funeral service, then your loved one will need to be embalmed.

It’s not unusual for people to hold a funeral service for their loved one before they are cremated, because it enables the family and other mourners to have a more traditional funeral experience. This can, not only be very comforting to everyone present, but it can also be a way to blend cremation services so that all the wishes of your deceased loved one and you and your family members can be accommodated and met.

If your loved one is going to be transported to another state or country for viewing and/or a funeral service before they are cremated, then you will need to have their body embalmed. In most cases, it’s illegal to transport a dead body for a viewing or funeral in a remote location, even if the deceased will be there in a day or two after the funeral home receives them.

However, if you’re planning a direct cremation, with services for your loved one to be held after the cremation takes place, your loved one will not need to be embalmed.

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.

funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD

Handling the Diagnosis of a Terminal Illness

Preplanning funerals at funeral homes in Burtonsville, MD will be one of the things you will need to do when you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It will not be the first thing on your list in the days after your diagnosis, but you should do it before your illness renders you unable to.

You have received the bad news from the doctor: you have a terminal illness. You have been given an average range of time, from weeks to months to years, that you can expect to live. Your first reaction may be shocked, especially if you haven’t been experiencing any severe health issues or you’ve only experienced sporadic seemingly minor health problems.

In the early days after the diagnosis of your terminal illness, you and your family should first comfort and support each other as you all accept the reality that you have an illness that you will die from. This is an important step in preparing for the best life you can have in the time that you have left.

Within the week, your entire family should get together and talk about your prognosis, talk about the time you have left, and help make plans for your care as your terminal illness progresses.

The first thing you and your family should do is educate yourself about your terminal illness. Most terminal illnesses have stages and symptoms that can be expected, as does dying and death itself.

By knowing what to expect, even if you don’t have an exact timeline, in the progression of your terminal illness, you can make plans to address each step of the process.

For instance, you may still be fairly asymptomatic at this stage in your terminal illness. You may still be able to work, to drive, and to do your normal activities. However, the time will come when you won’t be able to work, you won’t be able to drive, and you may be very limited in what activities you can do.

Now is the time to prepare for that. Some people with terminal illnesses choose to stop working immediately after their diagnosis so they can spend as much time as possible with their loved ones. Other people choose to work until they are no longer able to because their work sustains them. You need to decide which course of action works best for you.

You need to plan for the time when you can’t drive. Who will drive you to doctor’s appointments? Who will make sure you get your medications? Who will take care of groceries? There are many limitations we don’t think about that suddenly become an issue when we can’t drive. Those need to be discussed and answered.

Another thing that you should decide as quickly as possible is whether you want hospice care during your terminal illness. If you choose hospice care, then you have a wealth of support for both you and your family that enables you to stay at home and die surrounded by the things and the people that you take comfort in and that you love.

Getting hospice care during your terminal illness will also ensure that your family has the support and the medical guidance they need to help with your care.

Among the many things, you should plan for after the diagnosis of a terminal illness is your funeral. Talk about what you want with your family so that you all know what should be done for you when you die.

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