Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen is known for pushing – in a very good way – the boundaries of what a county deeds office should do.
He’s added passport services as well as a program that supports local businesses and veterans by offering veteran’s discounts on goods and services – and he’s even taken old slave ownership documents and put them in an easily searchable database.
And, with a podcast series that now has 30 episodes under its belt, Thigpen and his humble office is voluntarily taking on one of the most difficult aspects of the human condition. How to handle grief after the death of a loved one and how to deal with other types of serious grief.
The podcast – aptly titled “Good Grief” – is available on the Guilford County Register of Deeds website and on all major podcast platforms.
The connection with the deeds office is that the department is the keeper of death certificates, and Thigpen is interested in helping people address the difficult challenges that end of life issues bring.
A description of the podcasts notes, “Talking about death can be uncomfortable, but avoiding those conversations can cause harm and confusion down the road.”
Thigpen and his cohost Community Health Facilitator Carly Malcolm address a wide variety of difficult topics related to grief that often take the podcast in interesting directions. For instance, in one episode, the two talk with Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega about dealing with the grief of losing a pet, and they even address the grief animals feel when they come into the animal shelter as a bonded pair and then are separated. Ortega said that’s one reason the shelter places such a high priority on keeping those pairs of animals together.
Good Grief episodes also direct people to resources and documents that will help them work through a troubling time.
Here’s the deeds office’s summary of the Good Grief podcast and its history: “Jeff and Carly tackle this discomfort head-on by speaking unapologetically about issues of death and dying. Experts join us as guests to answer questions and share a wealth of knowledge with listeners. What was expected to be just a handful of episodes has morphed into over 30 interviews with community and faith leaders, caregivers, healthcare professionals, funeral directors, and so many more. As a local poet and author Catherine S. Buck writes within an untitled poem, ‘Too soon the years began to fly.’ We must have these conversations now before the years fly by and miss opportunities to inform our decisions regarding end of life.”