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Call this space 'thank you notes'

A great father has great friends

Today, I am attempting to do the impossible. For decades, my father filled this space with his unique style and perspective that nearly always elicited a response from his readers. I am trying to fill those shoes just this once. Three sentences in, and I already feel inadequate. I do not envy the person charged with filling the space of ''Your Humble Servant'' hereafter.

The only space more difficult to fill will be the hole in the hearts of those who love him. For our family and friends, the sense of loss is overwhelming. For many of us, Will McDonough was the dominant figure in our lives. He was the person to whom we could always turn for advice, help, support, comfort, love, or anything else we needed.

In the days since his death, we have learned how many lives he touched. There is not much I can add to the many tributes that have been written, spoken, or emailed, because I think almost all of them captured the essence of my multidimensional father. There were many recurring themes. As a writer and reporter, he was a giant and a legend. Even those who did not always agree with his opinions or his methods would agree on that. As a person, he was a GIANT and a LEGEND. It is not humanly possible to be a better, or more loyal, husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, or citizen. I don't know anybody who has done more for other people than my Dad, and I never will. Of all of the aspects of his legacy, that is the one of which I will always be most proud.

While death invariably brings sadness, there is much that has happened that has brought our family a sense of peace. About a month ago, my father was hospitalized for several days after he suffered a "minor" heart attack. Each night, on my way home from my radio program, I would stop by and visit with him for an hour or so until it was time for him to go to sleep. My Dad's cherished friend, Joe O'Donnell, has pointed out that Will's columns always left you longing for more, even one more paragraph. Those conversations at the hospital had the same feel for me. When it was time to leave, I wished there were just five more minutes we could spend together. Five more minutes I could spend listening to one more story, gaining one more insight, laughing one more time.

My everlasting comfort will come from knowing my father was prepared to die. At that time a month ago, he did not know what was wrong with him, but he knew something was wrong. As usual, he knew more than the rest of us. He told me that no matter what happened, his life had been complete. He did not get cheated. He never did. He had a wife who gave him boundless love and joy, five children who adored and idolized him, and more friends than he could count. We all thought we were Dad's best friend. He knew how much he had given to all of us and his beloved community of Boston. My Dad died knowing that he was "Mr. Big" to so many of us because of the way he lived his life. The events of the days since his passing demonstrated how many others appreciate that life well-lived as well.   Continued...

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