Cole Imperi

Cole Imperi

Thanatologist & Author

Cole Imperi is a thanatologist, author, and researcher whose work focuses on the use of non-clinical tools in support of those experiencing loss and grief.

Cole is the Founder of the School of American Thanatology, which has students in more than 30 countries, where she both teaches and conducts research under the school’s ThanaLab. Through her development of Shadowloss Theory and her pioneering work with the field of Thanabotany, Cole’s work seeks to bridge the gaps left by the decline in non-clinical, community-led bereavement support.

As a leading expert in the field of thanatology, Cole has given multiple TEDx Talks on Shadowloss and resiliency, appeared on the Netflix series The Future of…, and served as an expert for WNYC’s Radiolab, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Ologies, MoMA, and more.

Cole’s is the author of A Guide to Grief, for teens and tweens, and a book about grief for adults being published by Penguin in 2025.

Cole has diverse experience from working in and around loss and grief since 2008 where she worked as a chaplain-thanatologist in one of America’s 25 largest jails, mortuary college professor, crematory operator, hospice volunteer, grief support group leader for children as young as 3 to adults, death companion, served on the board of a green burial startup, and as Board President of a historic cemetery and arboretum. She traveled the US and Canada for 5 years training funeral directors and embalmers, and co-founded a deathcare startup. She currently consults on bereavement programming for organizations, and publishes the popular column Grief or Madness.

Cole was the recipient of the Curtis Gates Lloyd Fellowship through the Lloyd Library and Museum and is a California Master Gardener.

She is based in Los Angeles.