Student Voice

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July 14, 2024

Opinion

Father’s death helps put life in perspective

April 27, 2007

When I took this job as a columnist, I thought it would be easy. I am rarely at a loss for words or opinions, and I am more than comfortable sharing my viewpoints with others.

It came as a shock to me that I actually had to struggle with finding topics for my last two columns; I guess this is my way of apologizing to you for their lack of substance. After submitting my previous column on "not settling for second best because life is too short," I was immediately worried about the topic for this column, what else could I write about? Unfortunately this topic came to me that same afternoon.

Monday, April 9, my father suddenly died after being in an unimaginable car accident. (For the record, I am not writing to gather your sympathy, nor am I trying to bring you down over your morning cup of Caribou). I always wanted to tell my father what I learned from him over the last 23 years. I never got that chance, and now, even though it may be too late, I feel the need to tell you; though I may not know you, you may not know me, and you probably never knew my father, Maynard Pearson.

My father has been referred to as a "nice guy" constantly over the last couple of weeks, and he was just that, a nice guy. He was calm and insightful, he spoke softly, but he carried a big stick. These are traits that I rarely utilize because my mother is a firecracker, and has since, graciously, passed that trait on to me.

I would go home to see them, or go to the gym with him and suddenly let loose into one of my rants. I get worked up when I really start ranting, I mean, it's hard work, but someone needs to do it, and at the peak of my rant, with my face red and my voice held high, my father would just sit back and smile. Smile.

He kept me grounded, and through his actions he taught me how to live my life. He taught me how to treat people. Here was a man that would rarely say a bad word about anyone, a trait that many of us could utilize once in awhile, myself included. He believed in the good in people.

He believed in me. No matter how crazy the plan, he would just smile and tell me to "Give 'em hell. Give 'em hell." As long as you keep your eyes forward and commit to the hard work ahead of you, any dream is achievable.

Maynard Pearson truly was my best friend, and that is what hit me this week. I always knew he was my best friend, but I never noticed that I was his as well. I have spent the better part of three weeks now thinking about what I wanted to tell him. What had I learned from him and how could I have verbalized that, had I been given the chance? However, that is really starting to seem trivial to me. I never needed to tell him what I learned from him; he already knew. And the only thing I wanted to tell him before he left was, "thank you."

Mike Pearson is a student at UW-River Falls.

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