In December 2020, Katherine McParland, a personal friend, passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 32.
She had a challenging childhood, transitioning through more than 20 foster care homes. After aging out of the system at 19, she experienced periods of homelessness, but persevered. Katherine found her purpose and established a local charity dedicated to ending youth homelessness — A Way Home Kamloops.
On a few occasions, I watched Katherine in action. Perhaps somewhat ironically, she had such a maternal instinct and cared deeply for so many challenged youth.
As part of Katherine's graduate degree, she produced a report. From Marginalized to Magnified, to elevate the voices of lived expertise. As a pioneer, she received many awards locally and provincially.
Tragedy often causes us to reflect. I am reminded of Stephen Covey’s principle: “Begin with the end in mind.”
He suggests individuals complete a profound exercise by envisioning yourself at your funeral. Who is attending and what would people say about you? What would you hope they were saying? How would your obituary read?
Many of us have attended funerals and celebration of life ceremonies. Being born and raised in Kamloops, I regularly read the obituary section in KTW. I have yet to see a tribute to how much money one made, saved or spent. If anything, the individual’s successes are briefly mentioned, but the bulk of their life commemorates their passions: family, career, sport, friends, travel, philanthropy and those who have been touched by their passing.
Our father would often say, "It is a shame that we wait until someone passes away before saying so many kind things about them. If only they were here to see how much love they created and in return received."
Some may be wondering what this column has to do with finance. I believe it has everything to do with it.
Money is a tool, a conduit and medium of exchange. I like the quote from Robert Byrne:” The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” The value of one's portfolio does not assure fulfilment. It is often health, relationships, recreation and travel that elicit happiness.
The most common goal I hear in my office is retirement, which is more of a phase than a destination. Because life can be unfair and short, we should not wait to cross things off our bucket lists. I appreciate that COVID-19 has curtailed and limited our ability to tackle our dreams, but I am confident we will get the opportunity again.
So, when you can, please take that trip, learn to dance, practise piano, run a marathon, climb Kilimanjaro, give back to your community or just tell someone you love and appreciate them.
Thank you, Katherine, for all you have done in our community. You left this world way too early, but your spark and legacy continues.