A beautiful obituary for my mum, Anne Bicknell

My mum, Anne Bicknell, died suddenly on October 27, 2019, the same day as my partner’s birthday. I’m still coming to terms with the shock, I’m sure I will be for a while.

In the whirl of everything-that-followed-next, one of her friends – a former colleague – wrote a beautiful obituary which was published in the Canberra Times. My mum, a proud Canberran, would often send me clippings from the Canberra Times, to fill me in on what friends and role models in the cycling and theatre communities were up to after I moved to Sydney in 2002. These clippings would often come with a little message on Post-it note and a bonus Freddo Frog. One of my mum’s many lovely traits was that she always took time to share little excitements like this, and had a way of adding extra fun to things that were a joy already (like opening mail from your mum).

I always described Anne to other people as like winning the mum jackpot. She had so many skills, passions and interests, and had such a warm, excited and encouraging way of bringing these out in others.

If you’re curious to read a little more, an online copy of the obituary is here: Doctor, musician and carer who left a legacy for her city. It weaves together her love for medicine, music, travel, and family, her strong integrity, her gentle nature and her newly discovered passion for rowing.

That header image again, in full, without the text on top. On holidays in Port Isaac, 2018. Photo: Geoff Bicknell
And a more personal one. We have many similarities. An incredible role model and guide. Photo: Gaye Camm

I have a couple of reasons for leaving the link here. One is so I can always find it again, should Google stop prioritising it (rest assured, being my mother’s daughter, I also have the clipping). The other is to provide some context for being a little quiet on this website over the last couple of years. It’s been tough.

This site, until now, has mostly been about research, media work and cycling. I have often used personal experiences as a way in to writing about bigger and broader interests and themes. Over the last couple of years, research, teaching and cycling have been invaluable as ways of working and thinking through grief. This is partly due to the ways work and riding feel more like constants as far as their roles in my own life are concerned, while the rest of the world has felt forever changed. There are many stories I think about writing from this time, but I haven’t wanted to sculpt or change those experiences through that process in the short term. It’s been really helpful just to feel and experience different things as they come up during this period instead, just as it feels helpful to start work on updating this site and sharing a little more again now.

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Post originally written in July, 2021. I have backdated the post so it sits in the blog feed at the approximate time this happened.