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funeral homes in College Park, MD

Why Have a Visitation?

When planning funerals at funeral homes in College Park, MD, one of the things that funeral directors ask people is whether they want to have visitation for their loved ones. You may not know whether you should have a visitation for your loved one or not, but there are some good reasons to consider having one.

First, it’s important for you to know that you can have a visitation for your loved one without having a viewing (an open casket with your loved one in repose). You may not want a viewing because you want people to remember your loved one as they were in a life or because you don’t want that to be your last memory of your loved one.

Those reasons are valid and your funeral director understands them and can arrange a visitation that doesn’t include a viewing.

One reason for having a visitation for your loved one is that it gives your friends and family members an opportunity to personally pay their respects and to offer you comfort and support. Even during COVID-19, funeral directors have found creative ways to make visitations possible.

Many funeral homes are offering drive-through visitations. With a drive-through visitation, you and your immediate family stand in front of the funeral home, and each car comes through one by one, with the car’s occupants rolling down the windows and offering you their condolences and expressions of sympathy.

This is a critical part of the funeral process, and, perhaps, even more, important now when there are so many public health restrictions that keep people apart and distanced from each other to try to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Some funeral homes are able to host smaller visitations inside their facilities, and a visitation for your loved one would give you an opportunity to pay tribute to your loved one’s life and shine a light on who they were as a person.

While close friends and family members may know your loved one very well, some of the people who attend the visitation may have known them only casually. Those people will be able to learn things about your loved one that they may not have known, and they will have a deeper understanding and respect of why your loved one meant so much to you.

Some of the things you can include as part of the visitation for your loved one are:

  • A tribute video – Tribute videos often include two or three of your loved one’s favorite songs and photos that highlight aspects of their life and their personality.
  • A memorial table – Memorial tables focus on some part of your loved one’s life that they were passionate about or that meant a lot to them. For example, your loved one may have been a music collector, so you can include photos of them at concerts and covers of some of their favorite albums.

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Visitations can also help you and your family grieve together and draw comfort and support from your friends and other family members. Sometimes families have disagreements and rifts that only death can mend. A visitation for your loved one can be the first step toward healing and reforming bonds that you and your family can share for the rest of your life.

Visitations have many benefits, so while you don’t have to have visitation for your loved one, it may be something that you want to consider in your funeral planning.

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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Being Grateful When Times are Rough

Planning funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD is never easy. When you lose someone you love to death, the grief, the pain, the sorrow, and the sense of loss you feel can make this time feel rougher than almost any other time in your life.

It can be almost impossible to imagine life without your loved one. What will you do without them? How will you live without them as part of your life? Where – and how – do you go from here?

Although the death of your loved one is very hard and there will be dark days and moments now and in the future as you move through their loss into new and unchartered territory without them, there are many things along the way that you can be grateful for.

Being grateful is a choice to see the good things around you. Even when your loved one has died, there are many things about them and your relationship with them that you can be grateful for. Gratitude has an encouraging effect, and as you focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for, it can help you move more easily through the grieving process without getting bogged down in it.

It’s easier to be grateful when your life is running smoothly. It can be much harder to be grateful when it’s not. But, ironically, that is the time you need gratitude and appreciation the most. So, here are some things you should look for and focus on as you mourn the loss of your loved one and you start a new life that doesn’t have them in it.

One thing you should pay attention to is the acts of kindness that other people do for you. These don’t have to be big and grand gestures and they don’t always have to come from people you know. In fact, one of the mysteries of life can often be that we are more kind to strangers than we are to our friends and family.

Perhaps someone you don’t know holds the door open for you as you are walking into a building. Maybe somebody you don’t know smiles at you when you need it most. You might have an uplifting conversation with another person while you’re standing in the checkout line at the grocery store or waiting to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy.

Those are acts of kindness that you should write down and keep as a remembrance of things you can be grateful for. Here’s an unexpected benefit of this: it will make you more conscious about practicing kindness toward people you don’t know. You will remember how these generous gestures made you feel and you will want to pass that experience on to others as you go through life.

Another thing you can do to promote gratefulness as a daily habit is to begin the day by listing several specific things you are grateful for. Include your loved one in this list. What things about them are you grateful for? What did they add to your life that you’re grateful for? What would you have never known without them that you are grateful for?

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Not only will this encourage you in your loss, but it will also help you to focus on good memories with your loved one that make you feel encouraged and comforted.

If you’d like to know about funeral planning 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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Should You Have a Visitation?

When making funeral arrangements at funeral homes in College Park, MD, one of the things that will need to be decided is whether or to have a visitation. Many people have questions about what should and shouldn’t be done during visitations, so here are some answers that may help.

First, you should know that having a visitation for your loved one is optional. You and your family may decide that you just want to have a funeral service and/or a graveside service, and that is perfectly acceptable.

Traditionally, visitations are held just before the funeral service so that mourners can express their sympathy and support to the grieving family and so that they can pay their respects to the deceased.

Many times the visitation includes a viewing. Your loved one’s casket is opened so that the people attending the visitation can see them one last time and say their final farewells. However, you do not have to have a viewing with a visitation for your loved one.

In some cases, it may not be prudent to have a viewing for your loved one. If, for example, your loved one was in tragic accident in which they were severely injured, you would not want to have a viewing. As well, if your loved one died from a terminal illness that savagely ravaged their body, you would not want to have a viewing.

Whether you have a viewing with your loved one’s visitation is a personal decision that is entirely yours and your family’s to make. There is no right or wrong answer to whether you should have a viewing.

So, what can you do to honor your loved one during a visitation?

One thing you can do is to set up memory tables that have pictures of your loved one and personal things that were very special to them. For example, if your loved one had a favorite sports team and everyone who knew them knew about it, then you could set up a table that has pictures of them attending that team’s events or games and you can include team memorabilia from your loved one’s collection.

Another idea for a memory table could be to remember a loved one’s military service. Military veterans are often very proud of their service to the United States. For some military veterans, whether they served their entire career in the military or they did just one tour of duty, the military and their allegiance to the United States has a dominant place in their lives. Having a memory table reflecting that can help honor your loved one’s memory.

Another thing that you can do during a visitation is to play a tribute video that you or the funeral home creates. In your loved one’s tribute video, you can include a few of their favorite songs, favorite pictures of them, and quotes from books or poems that describe them or favorite sayings that your loved one was known for.

This tribute video can play and replay throughout the visitation.

Funeral homes have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, and they have found creative ways to do things such as viewings, which are usually held inside the funeral home. Many funeral homes have adopted the concept of drive by viewings.

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With a drive by viewing, you and your family stand at the funeral home entrance and people drive up, one car at a time, and roll down their car windows to offer you and your family their condolences and comfort.

If you’d like to know more about visitations 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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Why You Should Consider a Funeral Reception

When planning funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD, people should consider having funeral receptions after the funeral service. Funerals, by nature, are a blur of many decisions at a very rapid pace after your loved one dies.

The reason for this is that you are in shock and numb at the loss of your loved one, even if you knew their death was coming and you thought that you had mentally and emotionally prepared for it. When your loved one died, your brain and body went into protective mode, which is why you’re both in shock and numb in the days after their death.

That is why you should consider having a funeral reception after the funeral service. A funeral reception gives you a break from all the activity that surrounds funerals and lets you spend some relaxed time with friends and family sharing memories and stories of your loved ones and getting some much-needed nutrition and hydration.

You’ve got enough on your plate, so think about turning the planning of the funeral reception over to someone who has offered to help you during this difficult time. The funeral home can help with accommodations for the funeral reception and that person can work with them to plan the funeral reception.

If you’ve been given the responsibility of planning a funeral reception, the best advice is to keep it family-friendly and keep it simple. There are many different ideas you can use for a funeral reception that won’t burden you with a lot of preparation all by yourself.

One of the most popular ideas for a funeral reception is having a potluck meal. People who will be attending the funeral reception can each bring a dish to contribute. You can assign the responsibility for drinks, ice, disposal plates, cups, and eating utensils to specific people to make sure you have everything you need to serve the potluck meal.

If you’d like a more simple funeral reception that doesn’t require people to sit, but instead allows everyone to mingle and talk, here are a few ideas.

Always be sure to have cold water, hot coffee, hot tea, and hot chocolate options for people to drink. Adequate hydration is always an issue for the grieving family because they are so consumed with everything they have to take care of, so having these on hand at the funeral reception will help them out.

You can do a funeral reception based on a theme. You might want to do cookies, dessert bars, and cakes. Instead of spending a lot of time in the kitchen making these sweet treats, go to the grocery store or to a bakery and purchase everything you want to serve. Grocery stores often care all of these dessert items already precut, so all you will need to do is the presentation at the funeral reception.

You can also do a funeral reception that features a variety of crackers, cheeses, spreads, and fruits. Fruits should be in season and should be cut up so that they are easy to eat. If you are using fruits like sliced apples or pears, add a touch of lemon juice to them so that they don’t turn brown before you serve them.

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Funeral receptions are a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the funeral process. You will find that they provide a lot of comfort and support at a point when you need it most.

If you’d like to know more about funeral receptions 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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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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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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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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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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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.

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How Many Americans Feel about Death

You may be uncomfortable attending funerals at funeral homes in Adelphi, MD, because death is a subject that you try to avoid thinking about, talking about, or having to deal with in any kind of tangible terms.

You are not alone. Many Americans have a denial mindset when it comes to death. This is exemplified by the fact that many people in the United States don’t have basic end-of-life documents like medical powers of attorney, living wills, or wills.

Creating end-of-life documents means thinking about your own mortality. It means having to come face-to-face with the reality that one day you will die and be no more. People in the United States are very uncomfortable with facing the truth about death being the end result of life.

Our denial of death is also seen in the American approach to medicine. Advances in medicine have made extending our lives a natural way of living, and many people will do anything to put off death, even if those life-saving measures ultimately diminish the quality of their lives.

Most Americans take a lot of medications to stave off death. These medicines attempt to regulate blood pressure, keep blood sugar under control, protect the heart, and keep depression and anxiety in control.

Additionally, many people in the United States also take supplements or use things like essential oils that hold out unsubstantiated promises of longer life with fewer ailments and diseases that can threaten lives.

Most of the medicines have serious side effects, and often the cure is worse than the ailment or problem it is supposed to treat. A good example of this is Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug that has been commonly used in the United States to treat metastatic breast cancer for several decades.

While Taxotere was somewhat effect in treating Stage IV breast cancer, it had some debilitating side effects that the drug manufacturer knew about but didn’t disclose. If the drug manufacturer had disclosed the side effects, they may not have gotten FDA approval for Taxotere.

However, because drug manufacturing is very profitable, the company was more interested in getting their patented drug on the market than they were in the overall health of the people who would be treated with the drug.

Had the side effects of Taxotere been disclosed, some of the worst of them could have been treated quickly and easily, with no long-term harm to the patients.

This is but one example of how the attempt to prolong life actually, in the end, destroyed the quality of life.

Surgical procedures to extend life where death will be inevitable without them are also routinely done in the United States, and the outcomes are often not as good as the patients and their families had hoped.

Americans routinely die during these life-saving medical procedures, especially those involving the heart or the brain. If they don’t die, it is not uncommon for serious health emergencies, such as strokes or aneurysms to occur shortly after the surgeries.

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If the strokes or aneurysms aren’t fatal, the patients are, at a minimum, disabled temporarily or, in the worst cases, permanently. These disabilities may include paralysis, speech defects, and brain damage.

We as Americans should consider how we see death and what that is costing us in terms of our health, our happiness, and the quality of life that we all desire.

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