Staci Bu Shea

As a death and grief companion, I provide education, support and guidance about death, dying and grief with a holistic, contemplative and dignified approach.

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Satomi with Audre Lorde’s
The Cancer Journals (1980)

I walk alongside you and your loved ones through the gradual experiences of advanced aging, terminal illness and dementia to create sanctity and dignified presence through the end of life. I swim nearby in the rough waters of sudden death, whether by accident, violence or suicide, and help you build a makeshift raft to keep you afloat. I sit with you while you find purpose and presence in what matters most to you in death and grief.
 Collaboration is central to my practice. As a holistic death care worker (eg. death doula or end-of-life guide) I can be seen as a non-medical figure in the eventfulness of death and grief, who advocates for and supports you and your loved ones, and works alongside medical professionals, care workers, administrators, family, friends, and community. The more support, the better.
 I am here to help you remember – since it is deep in your bones – that death is an emotional, spiritual and communal event and process.

Dirkje Kuik’s resting place in Cemetery Soestbergen, Utrecht

My world is shaped by the values of love, access, justice and liberation. Too often, marginalized and oppressed people already know death and grief in intimate ways when I meet them. The heart of my death care practice wants a future where ALL have dignified deaths after living dignified lives.
  As part of the LGBTQIA+ community I understand the different needs that queer and trans people face in their life, care and death. I am also sensitive to the experiences of navigating death and grief while living far away from loved ones. My clients, like myself, are part of international, activist, and arts communities.
  Accessibility and experiences of disability from a Disability Justice perspective are important principles for my life and work. My death care is humanistic, material, relational, sociopolitical, ecological, artistic, embodied and contemplative, with a touch of witchcraft.
  For the starry-eyed, my death care practice is fueled by my placement of Mars (how one takes action) in Aquarius (intellectual, creative and definitive style) in the 12th house of hidden life, secrets, sorrow and loss.

“Anything in life, is life. Anything at all.
Gradually I absorbed this uncanny fact.”
〜Camille Roy, “Friends,”
Honeymine: Collected Stories, 2021




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Serving locally in
Utrecht and The Netherlands,
as well as virtual, anywhere you are

I completed death doula training with Going with Grace in January 2021. I have been volunteering at a beloved local hospice since 2019, where I currently only visit weekly as a garden volunteer. I receive ongoing mentorship and study under various death workers and caregivers. With the flow or plod of time, my-death care evolves with your-death care.
  As a writer and curator with a decade of professional experience, I’m invested in the aesthetic and poetic experiences of care work and how meaning is shared through relationships. I weave these sensibilities into my death care practice with a focus on how aliveness is felt and cherished.
  I am interested in and continue to learn from somatics, neuroscience, theory and philosophy, literature and poetry, herbalism, conflict transformation, empathic and non-violent communication, and contemplative and trauma-informed care.
  I enjoy all the pleasures of cooking and eating. I am an avid walker and qigong practitioner.
  I was born and raised in many corners of Florida, USA and lived in North Carolina, New York, and Tokyo, Japan before settling in the Netherlands.

Left: Great Smoky Mountains (Anikituwagi/Cherokee)
Right: Key lime pie

Elizabeth Bishop’s Key West home
1938 to 1946



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Offerings

Click to schedule directly:

Free discovery call (30 minutes)

1:1 session for existing clients (1 hour)

  Click to use the contact form regarding:

Urgent care or any question you might have
(I will respond ASAP)

In our introductory session I will learn about your situation and offer ways in which we could work together. As one might expect, my offerings below overlap and mingle. I usually work one-on-one with clients and their circle of care. In addition I share death and grief literacy through group presentations and workshops in various settings. More information about these offerings soon.

Death companionship
I offer comprehensive pre-planning services to designate care wishes, bedside offerings throughout the end-of-life process, and consultations to navigate the end-of-life landscape. I often support and resource caregivers and those serving a loved one who is dying. My services and abilities span from practical and administrative care to emotional and spiritual support. Each and every situation is unique and I meet you and your loved ones where you are in this process.

Death wellness
Death awareness looks different for everyone due to their embodied, social and political experience and, in any case, it transforms over time. Regarding any deathly issue, I bear witness and offer guidance toward peace and healing on your journey.
  For those navigating death-fear and anxiety, I support you in transmuting these experiences towards compassion and connection. Opening up to death wellness means finding balance in life and death in ways that energize you to live fully and with purpose. We work together on caring practices for engaging with impermanence, strengthening coping techniques, and processing and releasing your experiences. The goal is to gradually come to terms with reality and the potential of the present moment, including meeting pain with presence when there is nothing to fix or "cure."
  Death happens many times before death – think a change in relationship, a diagnosis, a sunset, a season. There are many changes throughout life which we do and do not choose. I’m here to offer contemplative care for living attentively and purposefully in alignment with your values.

Grief companionship*
Grief is as natural as tears and sweat. It’s also a process that wants to move through you, so that you can experience the fullness of your connection to who and what you love. Since grief is the pain associated with loss, I draw from the biopyschosocial model of pain to consider ways of meaningfully tending to your grief. I support you in exploring expressions of grief and can help you to create practices to integrate into your days as you learn to live with loss.

*Grief companionship makes a thoughtful gift for someone in bereavement. Contact me about scheduling a session for your loved one.

Left: Jason Dy SJ, floral arrangement, Stadshospice Utrecht, 2023
Right: Beverly Buchanan, Out of Control, 1991



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Pricing

The initial 30-minute discovery call is free. My standard hourly rate is €80 excluding VAT.
  My services and offerings are often client-specific packages. Together we can define a container of time to work within to give clarity, structure and integrity to the process of moving through a transformative portal. It depends on what feels right for you. For example, meeting once a month for three, six or twelve months. It is also possible to meet for one-off, one-hour sessions, scheduled as needed. Sometimes one call is enough to help you with the answers you seek.
  I typically invoice on a monthly basis. All invoices and payments are digital.
  My death care services are for everyone, regardless of income. If you can’t afford my services, still get in touch with me.  

Dolly Parton, Heartbreak Express, 1982



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Accessibility

My companionship and consultation often takes place over Zoom or by phone. I am able to meet in person for those who also live in the Netherlands.
  English is my mother tongue. I am currently studying Dutch (A2 level at present). I have connections to a number of Dutch-English translators and sign language interpreters (ASL, NGT, and IS) in case these accommodations are needed.
  If you are in search of a PGM/BBIPOC death care worker or one with your specific cultural or spiritual background, get in touch and I will help you find one.

Left: Barbara Hammer, Spring Solstice, Spring Solstice, Berkeley Bay, CA, 21 March, 1979
Right: Agnes Martin, Untitled, 2004



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Praise

“My two favorite qualities of Staci is that she is an incredible listener and when she says she’s going to do something, she does it.”
Adeline (Staci’s grandmother)

“The way Staci carries themselves is something truly inspiring. Their perspectives on living and dying are like a pillar to lean on, or like a breath of fresh air. The spaciousness in the form of listening, engagement and respect Staci offers is something I look up to and think highly of.”
Bo

“During a period of transition, Staci’s support and guidance were immensely important to me. When my cat, Taartje, passed away, I was unprepared and felt thrown into a new unknown. Staci addressed my practical questions, fears, guilt, and devastation with genuine care and understanding. I appreciate Staci’s ability to intuitively know when to lend a listening ear and when to offer thoughtful advice. Turning to Staci was the best decision for me, helping me better comprehend and navigate through my grief.”
Pernilla

“I started talking to Staci right after my father and just before my mother died. Staci’s words and presence became a stabilising anchor in an overwhelming and confusing storm of emotional and practical overwhelm. The days leading up to my mom’s timed death Staci was there in so many ways, oscillating between bearing witness to my experience and encouraging presence with myself during all the ways I was already loving and caring for my mom. Staci also had many beautiful practical suggestions to support our situation. Right after my mom died Staci was there to help me wash and dress her, as well as to help me find ways to slow down during the intense time between her death and all the necessary arrangements. Since then they have assisted me through the many landscapes of loss and grief. I am forever grateful.”
Katja

Left: Gay Belknap (Gaia), drawing within Cheryl Clarke’s Narratives: Poems in the Tradition of Black Women, 1982
Right: Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Asawa and Her Family, 1957



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Big inhale, long exhale

Etel Adnan, Shifting the Silence, 2020

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