An EKG for Grieving Hearts

words by: Ferree Hardy



How long does grief last? That’s a question for which we all want the answer. But people and circumstances are so varied that no one can say how long it goes. It lasts as long as it lasts, and it always lasts too long. In our drive-through society, we want things done quickly, but grief is a process that’s not bound to a schedule. It’s hard to measure.

But, just as an electrocardiogram (EKG) records the electrical signal from the physical heart, we can use the letters E—K—G to measure conditions in our grieving heart. It gives us some clues about where we could use some help. The more help we get, the better equipped we are to do this process, and the less likelihood of getting stuck in it. Let’s take a look at an “EKG” for a grieving heart and see where we stand. This is not a substitute for, nor is it intended to be, medical advice.



“What does my “EKG” indicate for your grieving heart?
Test yourself again in six months and see how things have changed.”



EExpress yourself and Exercise

KKnow God and Know what you need to know about grief

GGather with people and practice Gratitude

E—Express Yourself and Exercise

*Are you expressing yourself enough? Talk it out.

We all need to talk about our losses. Losing a loved one is often overwhelming and hard to put into words, but talking about it is very therapeutic.

Talk to a friend who is able to listen without trying to fix things or correct you. They should respect your honesty and be strong enough themselves to carry some of your burden. It’s good to have more than one person to talk to, so also talk to God. Try praying out loud; it does us good to hear our own voice. God cares, and He has the power to truly help us in times of need.

Talk to your doctor soon after losing your loved one. Get a baseline on your health so that in the months to come, you’ll be able to see if stress is taking a toll on your sleep patterns or eating habits. 

There are creative ways of expression too. Write in a journal as often as you like. Some people write several times throughout the day, while others write only once every couple of weeks. Writing poetry helps. If you’ve been itching to write a book, get started! If you don’t care for writing, express yourself with art or hobbies.

*Do you get enough exercise? It’s an amazing help.

Exercise aids grief recovery in so many ways. The body feels better and looks better, the emotions get a lift, and it gives you something to accomplish. A twenty-minute walk works wonders, and it doesn’t require a gym membership. I set a timer and circle through my kitchen and living room when I can’t go outside. If you can’t fit in twenty minutes, take five or ten a couple of times a day. Start with what you can do and gradually work up. Be sure to ask your doctor in case you need to avoid particular exercises. 

On a scale of 1–10, worst to best, where are you at in expressing yourself and getting some exercise? Are you pleased with your answer? If not, why not? What has to change in order to improve?


To read the full story, purchase an April 2023 back issue here.


Subscribe today to get the full stories in print each month!



Ferree Hardy has helped thousands of widows through her book, “Postcards from the Widows’ Path,” small groups, speaking, and personal coaching, but touching one life at a time is what matters most to her. She holds a BA from Moody Bible Institute, and was a pastor’s wife in Ohio for over twenty years before her first husband died. She’s happily remarried now, and her readers know that moving seems to have become a hobby for her. But she also enjoys backyard chickens, aims to read fifty books a year, and loves to bake. Learn more by visiting her blog.


Exciting Steps in the Building Process – Update #9

Exciting Steps in the Building Process – Update #9

The juneberry tree in our backyard is in full bloom, as are some exciting steps in the building process! We are happy to announce that the IRS determination letter has been received and Juneberry Hill Schoolhouse is an officially approved 501(c)3 nonprofit...

May, 2023

May, 2023

ONE MINUTE WITH MARLIN   Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event featuring a visual artist I have come to appreciate very much. Makoto Fujimura shared of kintsugi, a 15th-century practice of mending broken tea bowls with a lacquer mixed with powdered...

Fundraising for Hayes

Fundraising for Hayes

Hayes is a delightful 2-year-old who is described as cute and clever. His absolute favorite activity is to swing on the swing set. Hayes is learning to call out to his on-site family care mom and dad when he needs their attention. They lavish the praise on him when he...