Mick Carney was 54 years old when his life was cut short. In August 2003 a teenage driver went through a red light and smashed into his car. He left behind two children, Laura and David.
The teenage girl who killed Mick had been using her phone at the time of the accident. After his death, Mick’s daughter Laura went on to campaign against driving while distracted.
Laura thought that her campaigning would be the best way to honor her father’s memory. That was, until she and her brother discovered something remarkable. Specifically, they found a document that would provide them both with a new way to continue his legacy.
While he was moving house her brother, David, found a list written by their father. It was hiding in a leather pouch. Once he had opened it, though, it was obvious what it was. It was a bucket list.
The document was titled, “Things I would like to do in my lifetime,” and there were 60 items on it. But what was most heartbreaking about the list was that before their father died in 2003, only five points had been ticked off.
It turned out that their father had written the list in 1978. This was the same year that Laura was born. To the siblings, Laura and David, it didn’t feel right to leave the list uncompleted. They had an idea.
In his place, they would complete the list for him. The project would be part of Laura’s mission to further raise awareness of distracted driving – and she would document the mission on a blog.
Although Mick had only managed to complete five of the things on the list, his children had unknowingly been working their way through it since his death. They realized that they had actually already managed to complete 13 of the items on the list without even knowing it.
Laura decided to call her blog “My Father’s List.” Describing her mission, she wrote, “As my brother and I read my father’s list, we realized we’d already done a lot of it. And then we knew what we had to do.”
Mick had managed to make it to a World Series game, and he had also helped his parents when they went into retirement. So that was two items ticked off already. But there were many more left for his children.
So what kind of things were in store for Laura and David? Well, the list contained a huge range of activities. Some seemed very doable, but others were a little off-the-wall.
Indeed, a few of them would prove particularly tricky for the siblings to complete: for example, “Correspond with the pope.” Not only that, but “Talk with the president” might not be all that easy, either.
But they haven’t wasted any time completing the easiest ones. Laura recently ran the LA Marathon in order to tick off “Run ten straight miles” in her father’s honor.
This proved a real challenge for Laura, who had never been able to manage the distance in training. But on the big day, she did it and began walking immediately after ten miles was complete. “I gave myself what my dad called the ‘Atta girl award,’” she wrote on her blog. “I patted myself on the back.”
It was a job well done. “I didn’t fully believe I was capable of it,” she wrote. However, she proved otherwise to the world. And slowly but surely her father’s targets are being ticked off the bucket list.
Other items on Mick’s list include “Recording five songs.” But Laura left this one to her brother, David. He had managed to complete this task while singing in a college a cappella group.
The siblings have given themselves a target of completing the list by 2020, and the reason why will break your heart. It’s all because of the first goal on their father’s list.
It reads, “I would like to live a long, healthy life at least to the year 2020.” But, of course, he never got to complete this one. That’s why his children feel it is important to finish the list before then.
Meanwhile, the 12th point on the list reads, “Give my children the most love, the best education and best example I can give.” The sad thing is that Mick never ticked this one off the list – but his children believe he should have done.
Laura and David’s mission to finish the bucket list by 2020 is truly inspirational. And while some people might find the process simply too emotional, in an interview with Inside Edition, Laura said instead, “I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt.” She added, “I feel like this is what I was meant to do.”