Daughter Completes Her Dad's Bucket List After He Passed Away — 'It Opened My Heart'

Laura Carney found an incredible way to keep her dad's memory alive.

woman hugging father Asife / Shutterstock

Laura Carney lost her father Mickey Carney in 2003. He was 54 years old when he became the victim of a tragic car accident that took his life.

Laura spent years mourning her father’s death, but everything changed in 2016, when she found a list Mickey had written, titled, "Things I Would Like To Do In My Lifetime."

After her dad passed away, Laura Carney completed his unfinished bucket list, an act that ‘opened [her] heart.’

Mickey wrote his 60-item bucket list when he was 29 years old. He’d managed to cross 5 items off his list before he lost his life. Laura decided to complete the other 55 things on his list, as a way to honor her father’s memory.


“I knew what I was doing seemed impossible,” she explained. “But it was the main reason I had to try.”

Laura took it upon herself to make sure her dad’s life goals were completed, including going to the Super Bowl and talking to President Jimmy Carter. Laura traveled to places her father never had the chance to see, visiting New Orleans, Las Vegas, Paris, and London. 


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Finishing Mickey’s bucket list let Laura feel connected to her late father while moving through her grief.

“Since starting the list, I was beginning to sense my dad’s spirit more often,” Laura said. She told CBS News how she felt upon finding her father’s bucket list, stating, "I remember thinking how angry I was that he didn't finish his life, that he didn't get to do all the things he set out to do."

Laura wrote and published a book about the ways her life changed after she decided to finish her dad's bucket list, allowing her to share her story with the world.

As she made her way through her father’s bucket list, Laura’s world opened up; her grief began to lessen. When faced with tasks that felt challenging, Laura pictured her dad’s presence guiding her through. She said, “When I would be in the middle of doing them, I just had this feeling that my dad wouldn’t let me fail.”


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In commemorating her father, Laura had experiences she never imagined she’d have. She tried skydiving, she went surfing, she ran 10 miles straight.

She offered her opinion on the importance of bucket lists, explaining, “Not only are you writing down your intentions for your life, but you're also committing to showing the world who you are authentically.”


She believes that a bucket list is more than just a list — it’s a way of preserving someone’s memory.

“Even if you don't finish it, maybe your kids find it someday, and then they know what you cared about, and that matters,” Laura said.

One bucket-list experience in particular helped Laura heal in an unexpected way. Mickey wrote that he’d wanted to drive a Corvette, so Laura did just that, despite her fear of driving, which originated as a result of her father’s fatal car accident.

After Laura drove a Corvette down the same highway where her father lost his life, she found that some of her anxiety disappeared. "I felt like I now could associate a new memory with driving,” she explained. “And the car phobia went away. Then all of a sudden, I was taking long trips and driving myself!”

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“I changed the narrative,” Laura said. “My dad and I weren't victims of something anymore... I'm not stuck in that day when he died anymore.”

The act of doing what her father couldn’t do allowed Laura to recommit to living a full life. She said, “Now I’m living in the present. And I’m going and doing all these incredibly fun things.”

Laura believes that finishing her dad’s bucket list “opened my heart, which had been shut down.”


Ultimately, Laura discovered that her connection to her late father will never fade away. She learned an invaluable lesson, one that speaks to the power of memory and the ways we hold our loved ones close, even after they’re gone.

As she explained, “Even though people die, love is something that never dies.” 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.