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  • Written Jun 6, 2012 8:51am

    Dear Friends,

    Bill passed away last night around 10:30.  He was sleeping peacefully and surrounded by his family.  We spent the rest of the night looking through photos and laughing and crying.  There will be lots more of both. We appreciate everyone's support and good wishes.  We are tentatively planning a simple memorial service for next Saturday--details to follow.

    With gratitude to all of you for your magnificent support and friendship,

  • from Jane

    Written Jun 4, 2012 8:51am

    Dear Friends,

    This is Jane writing for Bill today.  He asked me to take over for him when the time came that he could no longer write to you himself.   That time has come.  Please know that he and I are both holding all of you in our hearts and feeling your support.  In this time of transition your kindness and generosity have wrapped loving arms around us, filling us with gratitude and peace  when we most need them.

    Boston University and Boston Medical Center continue to honor Bill’s career in deeply meaningful ways.  Bill’s speech from May 2 is up on the web.  Here is the URL:  


    The turnout for the speech was incredible; two weeks later over a hundred people came to our home for a wonderful picnic organized by the Department of International Health.  Bill was his usual larger-than-life self for both events, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  His life has been a joyful celebration that is continuing to carry on through his last hours.

    The family is gathered at the house in Marshfield with Bill.  He asked to spend his last days looking out at the marshes he loves so much, so his bed is in the sunroom next to the kitchen.  He sleeps most of the time.  When awake he often has a silly smile on his face that makes him look like a small boy who just did something kind of naughty, like the time he exploded the baby food jars in the oven when he was 3.   He continued to regale us with stories until a couple of nights ago; now we are telling one another our own Bill stories around the kitchen table.  We hope and believe that he knows how much he is loved and admired by his family as well as the larger world he has lived in so exuberantly.

    We have received many visits and letters from family, friends, and colleagues.  We treasure your presence, your words, your notes.  This is one of the richest moments of my life.  I am seeing and hearing first hand how many people have loved and love Bill.  I am feeling your love for me, too.  We welcome short visits from friends  -- please call first (781-837-4101) to let us know you’re coming.  Bill will probably not be awake, but he’ll know on some level that you’re here. 

    I do not know how many hours or days remain until Bill’s passing away, but his life and love will always be present in this house.  I hope you will continue to keep in touch with me and visit me when he is gone.  My life has expanded so much since I met Bill, and I want to remain connected to his friends and colleagues. 

    I’ll write again.  

    Thank you for everything.


  • Update in several spheres

    Written May 28, 2012 6:32pm


    1 - Well, what about the video?  

    Here is an email, from BU productions, I received last Friday:

    From: "Peterson, Kara Julianna" <kara@bu.edu>
    Subject: Re: May 2 Bicknell Talk
    Date: May 24, 2012 5:51:00 PM EDT
    To: William Bicknell <sequoiagrove@gmail.com>
    Cc: "Ollen, Betty" <ollen@bu.edu>, "Anzalone, Joe" <josanz@bu.edu>, "Saunders, Michael S" <msaunder@bu.edu>, "Chedekel, Lisa S" <chedekel@bu.edu>

    Hi Bill,

    I think it is almost ready. Let me check with Mike and get back to you.

    Thanks much!


    I leave predictions up to you. My sense is the talk video will come but when is quite another story.

    2 -  The pre-talk slide show

    The slide show (attached) played silently without any narration, for about  20 to 30 minutes before Dean Meenan's introduction and my talk. My talk has other, and mostly very different,slides. The  delay is due to the file size being huge and everything I did to shrink resulted in a larger file size which I could not fix until last Thursday.

    Download the slide show from caringbridge, then: 1st) Open the file in PowerPoint. 2nd) Go to the PowerPoint menu at the very top of the screen. 3rd) Click and hold on Slide Show, 4th) Select  Play from Start. 5th)  Watch. The slides are in.ppt, timed and should change on their own.

    3 - Use and Distribution of my caringbridge log

    I've had several inquiries about the use or sharing of some or all the material on the caringbridgee blog with others. Anyone is welcome to share all or part with anyone.

    4 - Clinical Update - At and passing the tipping point

    Over the past few days my decline has sped up.  I expect it will be 7 to 14 days, maybe a bit longer, until I die.

    Further blog updates may be from me, but more likely Jane.

    Please find the picture on the opening page highlighting one (Barnaby) of my two (the other is Sandy) long-term caregivers. Barnaby is more than rising to the task of comforting and caring.

    Do not be concerned about pain, it is at the zero to barely noticeable level. My appetite is fine and overall I am amazed to be writing this and feeling so good. Overall, for sure a new life experience. 

    So, stealing from the last slide in my talk:

    Goodbye, or perhaps better, unitl we meet again,
    Au Revoir

    !- 800 - Who - Knows


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Healthcare Facility

Boston Medical Center
One Boston Medical Ctr Place
Boston, MA 02118-2393
United States