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Cole Imperi wants to talk about death.

Certified Thanatologist Cole Imperi
Thanatologist Cole Imperi
(photo courtesy of Cole and

Perhaps more importantly, she wants you to talk about death. As a thanatologist Cole Imperi studies, teaches, lectures, and writes about death, dying, and grief. Cole’s work comes from deep personal experience. And she believes a better relationship with the reality of death helps us live more fulfilled lives.

Thanatology (from the Thanatos, the Greek god of death) is a wide field, and many people dabble in it. But there are few people who are, as Cole says, “all thanatology, all the time.” Cole has essentially invented her career from scratch after realizing that death was “following her around.” She underwent a process of vocational discernment, normally reserved for nuns and monks, before embarking on the work of her life. Cole says that blessing and permission to pursue her work have led to her becoming the person she wanted, and was meant to be.

Episode 38: Cole Imperi Links & Information

Making a living, talking about dying

Today Cole wears a lot of hats, but they’re all related to her life’s work. She speaks widely on issues of death, dying and grief. She writes on those subjects for her own blog and for several publications. She consults for organizations and individuals looking to form a more harmonious relationship with death. And she hosts and produces a website and two podcasts about death (see links above). She’s a busy woman, but she thinks more of it as her “life’s work” than as a job.

Cole’s perspective on vocation is perhaps the most intentional we’ve had on the show so far. That discernment process is something many of us would welcome: assistance in determining the path of our life, if indeed there is one. As a result, Cole is passionate about helping other people find their path as well. She brings an indefatigable energy to her work (as is evident in our conversation). After all, it’s her passion for life that fuels her work around death.

Photos: Cole Imperi – American Thanatologist on The Distiller

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