Woman finds dead dad's bucket list, vows to complete it

Inside a small, leather pouch, nestled among a few trinkets, were three pages ripped from a spiral notebook, written in her father’s barely legible penmanship.

Laura Carney looked at her brother, Dave, in confusion. "Do you know anything about this?” he asked.

The 39-year-old copy editor had never seen the pages before, and her father had been dead for 13 years. But there was Mick Carney's bucket list — 60 items covering both sides of three sheets of lined paper.

"Things I would like to do in my lifetime!" he had written in 1978, the year Laura was born. Her father was 29.

At the top of the wish list: "I would like to live a long healthy life at least to the year 2020."

But he only made it to 2003, when a 17-year-old on her cell phone ran a red light and plowed into Mick Carney’s car on a summer day in Pennsylvania. He was 54.

His daughter's heart will always bear the loss. She has forgiven the girl who took her father’s life, she said, and has become an advocate against distracted driving.

And with the list, she's found another way to honor her father. She and her brother are now on a quest to check off every item on it. She is documenting their journey in a blog, "My Father’s List."

Her dad only checked off five, including including attending a World Series game and helping his parents when they retired.

Her brother had been given a bag of their father's belongings not long after he died, but it remained unopened until recently, when he was in the midst of moving to a new home. When Dave saw the stack of papers inside, he put them back, wanting to read them with his sister.

As they did, Laura heard her dad "saying to me, 'Here’s your chapters, do each of these things.'"

Laura recently checked off one of those chapters: "Run 10 straight miles."

She has committed to fulfilling the rest of her dad’s wishes by 2020, the year he’d hoped to see as a healthy, elderly man.

The next thing she plans to check as "done" is swimming the width of a river, his daughter says.

“I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt,” she said. “I feel like this is what I was meant to do.”